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Harper Poll: Paterno Leads Wide Open LG Field


In some of the first public polling on the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Harper Polling showed former Penn State football assistant coach Jay Paterno leading the wide field with 17%.

Former Congressman Mark Critz came in a close second with 16%, followed by State Rep. Brandon Neuman at 7%, State Senator Mike Stack at 6%, Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski at 4% and Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith at 2%.

48% of respondents said they were undecided. Former advisor to the City of Harrisburg, Brenda Alton is running for Lt. Gov. but wasn’t polled.

In addition to being the leading candidate in this poll, Paterno is also the newest contender in the field for the Democratic nomination and has statewide name recognition, courtesy of his father, the late, famed Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

The geographic breakdown is much of what you would expect based on the candidate’s residencies; Paterno has a strong showing in the Northern Tier, 23.08%; Stack does well in the Southeast/Philly area, 10.29%; and Critz takes the plurality in Western PA/Pittsburgh, 32.74%.

Despite being a city councilman from South Central PA, Koplinski came in fourth in this region with 4.76%, falling behind Paterno, Critz and Neuman.

Ideologically, the frontrunners performed evenly across the scale. 17.48% of liberals support Critz, 19.19% of moderates, 13.04% of moderates. 16.08% of liberals backed Paterno, 19.19% of moderates and 17.39% of conservatives.

One candidate who performed better among conservative Democrats was Neuman; he took just 6.99% of liberals, 3.49% of moderates but 13.04% of conservatives.

Harper Polling, a Republican firm based in Harrisburg, polled 501 likely voters and the margin of error is +/-4.38%. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automated telephone survey was conducted February 22-23, 2014 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

7 Responses

  1. What qualifies an assistant football coach to be Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania? If his name was not Paterno would anyone even be paying any attention to him? No.

    Are people feeling sorry for the way Joe Paterno was treated? Paterno showed a lack of judgement in his handling of the Sandusky scandal. However, he was thrown under the bus when he was fired. The problem is, by the time Joe Paterno was fired, he was way past the point where he should have retired.

    Just because Joe Paterno was fired I do not think one of his sons, with no political experience, should be elected Lt. Governor.

  2. Paterno is a good man. Comes from a great family. That is why Jay received the early bounce in the polls. When issues become a factor the LG race is in the best hands of Brad Koplinski. Brad has been campaigning in every county in Pa. the right way. He knows the issues that impact everyday working people lives. Given the chance he would be a high profile LG in helping with all the problems we have in Pa. to bring positive change to people of the Commonwealth.

  3. mark critz will win lg he is working the hardest.and he has a great record for helping pennsyvania familys i thought all the epaternos were republicans learn something new everyday.

  4. @ Patrick
    That’s why Congressman Mark Critz will be the nominee for LG. Thats why Pa. needs a person with experience in local, state and federal matters, not a football coach.

  5. If I’m Governor Corbett I am praying on hand and knees he is the Dem nominee. Going to be very tough to criticize Corbett’s handling of the Paterno matter with a Paterno family member and MEMBER OF THE COACHING STAFF on the Dem ticket…

  6. Not particularly surprising results given the question the Harper poll asked:

    “In the Democratic primary election for Lieutenant Governor, which of the following Democrats would you most likely support: Mark Critz, Brad Koplinski, Brandon Neuman, Jay Paterno, Mark Smith and Mike Stack?”

    Note two things that are significant because they are factors in low-profile down ballot races. The candidate’s home county is not part of the question as it is on the ballot and Brenda Alton was left off the list, meaning gender voters did not have that option which also factors in to down ballot races.

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    Total Voters: 30

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