By Shira Kipnees, Staff Writer ||

According to a recent poll conducted by F&M’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs, Tom Wolf, York businessman, has a strong lead over his opponents in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 2014 gubernatorial race.

The poll indicated 33 percent of registered voters polled support Tom Wolf for governor, followed by seven percent for U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Philadelphia, six percent for Rob McCord, state treasurer, and one percent for Kathleen McGinty, former state secretary of Environmental

“Wolf has spent about five million on TV commercials in a very successful introduction to the voters — by consensus, these commercials are some of the best aired in Pennsylvania in recent history,” Madonna said, explaining one reason why Wolf has been able to secure such a large lead at the polls. “Wolf’s commercials have been blockbusters with a unique and compelling message. He aired them early and often before his opponents were even aware of how quickly he would build up a 23-point lead. He has not had any negatives that have proven so far to be a problem with voters.”

Madonna also explained that Wolf’s opponents do have a chance against him, but their path is not easy.

“Wolf’s opponents are now on TV, and they have to create a very compelling narrative and give the Democratic primary voters a compelling reason to support them and also in some cases to drop Wolf,” he said.

The poll also found that education will be an important issue in the upcoming election for Democratic voters, with 31 percent of voters stating education is their primary issue of concern. Madonna attributed this interest in education to Tom Corbett, current governor of Pennsylvania, slashing school district budgets and other cutbacks for many schools.

“The voters believe that Corbett has cut the school district budgets and in many of the 500 school districts there have been layoffs of staff, program curtailments and other cutbacks,” Madonna said. “Also because of reductions in the appropriations to the public universities, tuitions have risen.”

On a national level, when asked who they would support in the 2016 presidential primary, 55 percent of voters polled said they would prefer Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state, and five percent said they would prefer Joe Biden, vice-president of the United States. According to Madonna, Clinton — along with her husband, Bill Clinton — is one of the most popular politicians in the country.

“Hillary Clinton has a track record of winning in the state among Democratic voters,” said Madonna. “She defeated [President Barack] Obama in the state presidential primary in 2008 by 10 points.”

The poll also showed President Obama’s approval rating has gone down again, with almost six in 10 Democratic voters saying his job performance is either excellent or good, while four in 10 rate it as fair or poor. Madonna attributes the poor approval ratings to the start of the Affordable Care Act and Obama’s response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the Crimea.

“The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has not been good to put it mildly,” Madonna said. “Obama also has had what some think are weak responses to the Russian actions in Crimea. These are two of his most recent problems, dragging down his job performance.”


Junior Shira Kipnees is a staff writer. Her email is