Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be a strong favorite to win Pennsylvania if the election were held today, a poll from Public Policy Polling found.
She leads several talked-about potential Republicans contenders including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) 52% to 40%; Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 52% to 37%; and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) 55% to 38%.
On the Republican side, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would have the support of the most Pa. primary voters at 20%. Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tie for second at 17%. Santorum and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tie for fourth at 10%. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee takes 9%, Ryan took 6%, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal got 4%, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry took 1%.
Rubio did the best (25%) among Republicans who identified as “very conservative” followed by Paul (23%). Christie did the best among self-described moderates (32%) and “somewhat liberal” (30%).
The pollster didn’t match Clinton up against Christie.
Clinton is viewed favorably 55% to 35% and Santorum unfavorable 46% to 42%.
Pa. opinions about same sex marriage have softened in the past year and a half, the pollster found. A 14 point swing in its favor, though voters still oppose it 47% to 45%.
74% of respondents said they’d at least support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The pollster cited an age gap on the issue: Seniors oppose gay marriage 62% to 28% and voters under 45 support it 58% to 35%.
“The massive generational gap on gay marriage in Pennsylvania reflects what we see most places,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Majority support for it is just around the corner.”
Respondents said they support “Congress passing stricter gun laws” by a margin of 53% to 41% and an assault weapons ban 52% to 39%. Opinions on the National Rifle Association were split, 43% unfavorable and 42% favorable.
President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in Pa. is split, 48% favorable and 48% unfavorable.
Sen. Bob Casey got positive job approval numbers, 45% to 36%. Toomey’s numbers were negative 37% to 34%.
Voters were split 42% to 42% when asked whether they’d support a Democrat or a Republican for the state legislature.
And the GOP plan to split Pa.’s electoral college votes along congressional district lines? For all the protests, it’s not too unpopular. 38% support the plan, 44% support the current, winner-take-all system.
Although PPP is a Democratic pollster, their results were independently rated the most accurate of the 2012 campaign cycle. They surveyed 504 Pennsylvania voters, including an oversample of 373 usual Republican primary voters, via interactive voice response (autopolla) from March 8th to 10th. The margin of error for the overall survey is plus or minus 4.4%, and +/-5.1% for the GOP sample. 48% of respondents were Democrats, 40% were Republicans.