By Fritz Wenzel, President, Wenzel Strategies Research
Wenzel Strategies conducted a telephone survey of likely Republican primary election voters statewide in Pennsylvania regarding the race for the party’s nomination for U.S. Senate. The survey was conducted March 26-27, 2012, and included 997 respondents. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.07 percentage points.

The telephone survey of likely Republican Primary Election voters in Pennsylvania shows that Tom Smith leads the five-man field, winning 26% support. The survey shows Sam Rohrer in second place with 18%, but that the other three candidates in the race – David Christian, Marc Scaringi, and Steven Welch - are barely registering with voters. The race is a dead heat among TEA Party conservatives, the survey shows, with Smith winning 28% and Rohrer 27%. Smith holds a substantial 30% to 10% lead over Rohrer among traditional conservatives, and a slim 14% to 11% lead among those who identified themselves as political moderates. While Rohrer held a 20% to 14% lead in the Philadelphia area, Smith leads by substantial margins in the rest of the state with the exception of the Susquehanna Valley and South Central Pennsylvania, where the two candidates are essentially tied. Smith also leads among younger and older voters, while Rohrer holds a small advantage among those likely voters in their 40s and 50s. Among those who said they are “firm” in their choice of candidates, which amounts to about onethird of the electorate, Smith leads Rohrer by a 30% to 25% margin. Among those who said they might change their mind before they vote, Smith leads by a wide margin, 38% to 20%. Among those who said they were “very open to changing their mind before they vote,” the race is essentially tied, with Smith winning 10% support and Rohrer winning 9% support. While 40% of Smith’s supporters said they are firm in their choice, 48% of Rohrer’s supporters said the same thing. Smith and Rohrer are both much better known to voters than are the other candidates. Smith is seen in a favorable light by 37% of likely voters, while just 7% had an unfavorable opinion of him. More than half – 56% - said they did not know enough about Smith to have formed an opinion of him. Rohrer’s favorability numbers are similar to those of Smith. More than four in 10 TEA Party conservatives (42%) have a favorable view of Smith, while 5% of those same conservatives hold a negative opinion of him. He won similar favorability numbers from traditional establishment conservatives. Among self-identified moderates, 23% had a favorable opinion of Smith, while 15% had an unfavorable opinion of him, and 62% of moderates said they didn’t know enough about him to have formed an opinion.
Q. If the primary election for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania was today, and the candidates were David Christian, Marc Scaringi, Steven Welch, Tom Smith, and Sam Rohrer, for whom would you vote? SENATE BALLOT TEST Frequency CHRISTIAN SCARINGI WELCH 43 17 22 256 178 481 997 Percent 4.3 1.7 2.2 25.7 17.9 48.2 100.0 Valid Percent 4.3 1.7 2.2 25.7 17.9 48.2 100.0 Cum Percent 4.3 6.0 8.2 33.9 51.8 100.0



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