The latest F&M poll (PDF) shows that the five men running to face Sen. Bob Casey have some work to do. A whopping 81 percent of Republicans haven’t made up their mind in the race.
Tom Smith leads the GOP primary with 9 percent, followed by Sam Rohrer at 7 percent. David Christian, Marc Scaringi and Steve Welch are each tied at 1 percent.
And even that isn’t set in stone. Of those scant few voters who have a preference, 55 percent say they are certain of their choice while 44 percent say they are making up their mind.
Of those 81 percent undecideds, the poll found that 3 percent are leaning toward Smith, 2 percent toward Welch, and 1 percent each toward Christian and Rohrer.
Smith’s lead is a result of the fact that he has been on television at varying degrees since December (minus three weeks in February). Rohrer maintains name recognition from his 2010 bid for Governor. Welch went on TV yesterday.
But the numbers reiterate the fact that the race is wide open. That’s likely to change over the next week or two as voters begin to tune in, but a bevy of unexpected presidential campaign ads could throw the Senate candidates’ plans – and the ultimate results – into disarray.
Elements of these results are similar to those of a Public Policy Polling survey earlier this month which showed Rohrer leading at 16 percent. Smith came in second at 12 percent, and 48 percent of voters said they were undecided.
The survey was conducted using live interviews from 505 registered Pa. Republicans from March 20-25, 2012. The sample error for this survey is +/- 4.2 percentage points.
Christian is a veterans advocate and businessman from Bucks County; Rohrer is a former state Rep. from Berks County; Scaringi is an attorney from Cumberland County; Smith is a former coal company owner from Armstrong County; and Welch, the candidate endorsed by GOP state committee, is an entrepreneur from Chester County.