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Poll: Rohrer Leads Senate Field, But Trails Casey by 15

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.

GOP Primary

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.

12 Responses

  1. Re. Marky and Alex who seem to live in Utopia, not the real world….Out of 120,000 legislative votes over 18 years which were consistently constitutional, moral, and freedom-promoting, Rohrer makes one or two mistakes and he’s disqualified for office?? Get real. BTW, you didn’t mention that he led the repeal of that pay raise against the leadership of his own party when he found out that they were granting that raise immediately, rather than after the next election as the PA Constitution dictates. And “soundbites” disqualify a candidate who was respected as the leading conservative in the House? Marky must get his news from the propoganda machine of major media which is notorious for doctoring “soundbites”. If Marky had actually heard Rohrer speak, even he might recognize that Sam’s message of People and Principles Before Party, of speaking the truth to restore trust in government is EXACTLY what appeals across party lines to a multitude of disillusioned voters. Ask the African Episcopalian Bishops of Philadelphia why they have crossed party lines to commit their support to Rohrer. People want to vote for someone whose record proves he can be trusted….only Sam has a record at all since no other candidate has any experience in office…and it is consistent and constitutional. That’s for real.

  2. If Smith can buy this primary election, he’ll be a deer in headlights against Casey. His ridiculously priced team could make Pee Wee Herman look Senatorial in 30 second commercial bites. Smith stammers and stutters at forum debates. Casey will eat him alive–and the U.S. Senate? Please. Let’s get real. That he owned a small coal mine makes him qualified to swim with piranhas in Washington? The U.S. States Senate will not be comprised of Smith employees. He has no idea what he’s up against. It will take him a year just to learn how to read legislation–and it will take many additional years for him to become astute to the many tricks of the trade. Only Rohrer knows how to stand up to guys like Casey and that liberal army he members. He’s been doing it for 18 years, and as a result has been consistently recognized as one of PA’s top ten freedom fighters by the Liberty Index. To pass on a man of proven grit and integrity for a guy who can purchase his own image…well, it’s false, and if we buy in we’re in big, big trouble–and we deserve it.

  3. Just need to remind everyone about Rohrer’s pay raise vote.
    Can’t believe how two-faced the TEA partiers are in supporting someone who sold their vote on the pay raise

  4. Sam Rorher has over a decade worth of soundbites that will ensure that he’ll never win the general election so why should anyone waste their time with him?

    At least Smith & the others will have the ability to stay on the offensive against Casey without the prospect of having to face endless commercials that force them to waste time, effort & money explaining bizarre comments such as those which equated the DMV with the institution of slavery. What planet is this guy from? Can you seriously see any type of swing voter signing on board to support him? Sure, Bob Casey is also pretty out there with his voting record but at least he’s learned, over the years, to keep his mouth shut.

  5. The expected two man race between Rohrer and Smith is shaping up. It will be the Rohrer’s largest grassroots network and an impressive legislative record (consistently ranked in the Top 10 of the Liberty Index; author of the innovative EITC K-12 educational scholarship program) vs. Smith’s money and business experience. I think it’s inevitable that voters will recognize we’re picking a Senator, not a congressman and will tip the scales in favor of Rohrer. Two good men: Rohrer for Senate now and Smith for congress in the future.

  6. Considering the GOP establishment has cost Christian over 20 days off the campaign trail and he has not been out in the public eye, these numbers aren;t good for Rohrer. Christian’s should increase greatly when he is able to what he was unable to do while fighting off stupid challenges, such as a challenge to where he himself has lived so many years. People need to support him. He is the only one that could pull in the Democrat veteran’s vote and beat Casey. Time to spread his name!

  7. So, after a decade in the legislature, a run for Governor, and a small army of activists, Rohrer is only 2 points ahead of 2 guys with no elective experience or any statewide recognition. That’s within the margin of error.

    I’m wondering if those 16,000 people who signed his petitions are the only ones who support him.

  8. This is a great poll for David Christian. It looks as if the PAGOP’s efforts to knock him off the ballot backfired. Steve Welch is a good and smart man and there’s no question that he sees the writing on the wall. It’s time for him to do the right thing and endorse either Mr. Christian or Mr. Smith for the good of the party. They’re the only ones who’d be able to carry the state in against Casey.

  9. No wonder PAGOP attacked Christian. They knew something the rest of us are just now finding out.

  • 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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