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F&M Poll: Perry, Stelson In Statistical Tie In PA-10

Scott Perry, Janelle Stelson

The race for the 10th Congressional District seat is in a statistical tie, according to the latest poll from Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research.

F&M surveyed 397 registered voters who live in the District which comprises Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties in south-central Pennsylvania.

Six-term Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Perry has a single percentage-point edge over Democratic challenger Janelle Stelson, 45-44%, with 11 percent reporting they are undecided.

However, the survey data was gathered during the final days of former President Donald Trump’s New York City felony case with the verdict announced in its final days.

Prior to the verdict, Perry held a seven-point advantage, 49-42%, but flush with the knowledge of the jury’s decision, Stelson reversed those numbers and led, 47-39%.

The main category of response for those supporting Stelson, the former WGAL-TV journalist, is that they are voting against Perry (40%). On the flip side, those supporting the newly-minted member of the House Intelligence Committee feel positively about him (27%) and that he aligns with their personal views (25%).

The data shows that Stelson’s supporters see her as more moderate, although there is concern about her lack of experience. While Perry’s backers point to his conservatism, his support for the military and his defense of the Constitution as reasons they support him, those who differ mention his involvement in the January 6 insurrection and attempts to overturn the 2020 election as reasons to back his opponent.

Perry won reelection in 2022 against Harrisburg city councilwoman Shamaine Daniels, 54-46%. The District has become more competitive since Perry’s early days due to redistricting.

More PA-10 Numbers

Perry’s job approval ratings are low, given his tenure, as just over one in three respondents believe he is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as their representative. Not surprisingly, nearly 2-in-3 Republicans (68%) rate him positively, while Democrats (9%) and independents (17%) view his performance in a different light.

The incumbent’s personal favorability ratings are about equal with 39% holding a favorable opinion and 41% having an unfavorable opinion. Stelson’s overall mark is a plus-10 with 33% viewing her favorably and 23% unfavorably. The challenge is that nearly half (44%) say they don’t know enough about her to have an opinion.

The race has not captured the attention of most voters who are still learning about the background of both candidates. More than a quarter of those surveyed (26%) did not know that Perry voted against certifying Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results or that he was involved in a plan to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to throw out electoral votes from states won by President Joe Biden (29%). Half of respondents were unaware that Stelson, who lives in Lancaster County, did not reside within the district.

Presidential Race

The NYC verdict also played a role in the data in the race for the White House. Trump defeated Biden in PA-10 in 2020 by about four points (51-47%) and holds an overall six-point edge (44-38%) in this survey. Prior to the verdict, respondents gave Trump a 47-36% advantage, while after news of the decision was available, the two candidates were even at 40-40%. Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. drew eight percent support prior to the verdict and 13% afterward.

Direction of the State

Respondents from Pennsylvania’s “Capitol District” recorded a similar number (47%) to those surveyed across the Commonwealth in April (45%) in saying they are “worse off” than a year ago.

One in four (25%) expect to be “worse off” financially a year from now as well. The pessimistic group says that the state is “off on the wrong track (49%),” while 2-in-5 (42%) indicate the state is “headed in the right direction.”

The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted May 28 – June 2, 2024. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. The data included in this release represent the responses of 397 registered Pennsylvania voters who live in the 10th Congressional District, including 151 Democrats, 175 Republicans, and 71 Independents. The sample error for this survey is +/- 6.1 percentage points when the design effects from weighting are considered.


Internal Poll

The Stelson campaign released an internal poll conducted by Normington Petts on Tuesday that also showed the race within the margin of error.

The survey gave Perry a three-point edge over Stelson, 51-48%, with a margin of error at +/-4.9%.

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  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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