Sam Rohrer is the strongest candidate in the five-man Republican field to take on Bob Casey, but so far that isn’t saying much. Casey leads Rohrer 49 to 34 percent, and all of his prospective opponents all by double digits.
The survey by Public Policy Polling was conducted from March 8 to 11.
Though Rohrer comes out on top with 16 percent, the poll actually shows a backslide in the GOP primary field. In its November survey, PPP showed him with 25 percent of the vote, a 9 percent drop.
Tom Smith saw the biggest jump, going from just 3 percent up to 12. David Christian, whose name was not included in the November poll, takes 10 percent. Marc Scaringi rose from 0 percent to 8, and Steve Welch went from one percent to 5.
A whopping 48 percent of GOP voters are undecided, meaning that this primary is still wide open. Indeed, only Smith has spent any notable amount of money on paid media.
Here’s how they match up with Casey in a general:
Casey 49 – Rohrer 34
Casey 50 – Christian 32
Casey 49 – Smith 31
Casey 49 – Scaringi 29
Casey 49 – Welch 29
Rohrer, a former State Rep. from Berks County, is well known to Pa. conservatives due to his 2010 campaign for governor. He has the highest name ID of the candidates so far, but only 25 percent of respondents knew enough to form an opinion. 12 percent view Rohrer positively.
The second best-known is Smith, a coal company owner from Armstrong County. Like Rohrer, 25 percent of respondents knew enough about him to form an opinion, and 12 percent view Smith positively. He likely can attribute his jump to the hundreds of thousands of dollars his campaign has spent on television ads to date.
There’s a clear drop-off to the second tier of the poll. While a consistent 12 and 13 percent of respondents disapprove of Christian, Scaringi and Welch (likely reflective of an anti-Republican sentiment among Democrats), they have only 5-6 percent approval.
The Republican state committee endorsement didn’t translate intro strong numbers or name ID for Welch in this survey – the same percent of respondents had an opinion of him as had an opinion of Scaringi.
Christian, whose last name is worth $50,000 in a field of unknowns, came in second to Rohrer in the matchups with Casey.
Here are a few interesting cross tabs:
Tea Party members:
Rohrer: 25 percent
Smith: 13 percent
Christian: 11 percent
Scaringi: 8 percent
Welch: 3 percent
Rohrer: 16 percent
Smith: 10 percent
Christian: 9 percent
Scaringi: 5 percent
Welch: 4 percent
The poll also showed an interesting age gap. Rohrer leads among voters age 18 to 45, he ans Smith are about even with votes ages 46 to 65, and Smith leads among voters over the age of 65.
Crosstabs are almost always interesting, check out the PDF for yourself here.
Casey holding steady
PPP’s findings are slightly worse for the Senator than those of Quinnipiac, which released a similar survey this morning. Casey lead a generic Republican challenger by 12 points in that survey, and had a 46 to 27 percent job approval rating.
The poll shows Casey with a 38 to 36 positive job approval rating, and fairly strong re-election support from Republicans – 22 percent.
PPP surveyed 689 Pennsylvania voters, as well as an oversample of 564 Republican primary voters, from March 8th to 11th. The margin of error for the overall survey is +/- 3.7% and for the Republicans it’s +/-4.1%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews.