PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – State Senator Doug Mastriano, coming off his long-coveted endorsement from former President Donald Trump, increased his lead in the latest and possibly last Pennsylvania Governor’s race poll.
The Emerson College poll of 1,000 Republican Pennsylvania primary voters was conducted from May 14-15, starting the day Trump endorsed Mastriano. It’s unclear if all of the respondents were aware of the endorsement, but if so, it appears to have given Mastriano another late boost.
Mastriano, who has reported ties to the conspiracy group QAnon and is a vocal supporter of former President Trump’s false election fraud claims, finished atop the poll with 34% support
Mastriano is up from the 19.4% he received in a Nexstar/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll conducted in early April where he was behind former congressman Lou Barletta by 0.4%.
Barletta, who has picked up the endorsements of three former gubernatorial candidates (Jake Corman, Melissa Hart, and Scott Martin) in the last week, finished at 22% in the May poll.
Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, who was infamously un-endorsed by Trump, finished third with nearly 12%, up 0.1% since the April Emerson College poll
Businessman Dave White received just over 9%, Charlie Gerow received 3% and all other candidates received 2% or less in the May poll. White was down about 5% since the early April poll conducted prior to Nexstar’s Republican Gubernatorial debate.
When the 15% of undecided voters were asked who they would support, Mastriano’s lead increased to 42% with a majority of the undecideds breaking his way. Barletta finished with 24% when receiving his share of the undecided support.
McSwain finished with 10.6% support when tabulated with his 1.6% of the undecided voters.
Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “among those who have already voted, Mastriano has 13%, but his support rises to 37% of those who plan to vote on election day. His opponent Barletta is getting about an equal share with 25% of the early vote and 21% of the election day voters.
Mastriano led in nearly all age ranges except 65 and older, which Barletta narrowly took by 0.3% at 24.1% compared to Mastriano’s 23.8%.
Barletta also led Mastriano among voters with a postgraduate degree or higher, but Mastriano led in all other education levels.
In urban/city areas of the commonwealth, Barletta led with 34%, followed by Mastriano at 17.6% and White at 14.5%. Mastriano held more than twice the support in rural areas with 43.3% to Barletta’s 16.9%.
Mastriano’s surge comes amid Republican Party leadership pushing the lower-tier of candidates to drop out and throw their support behind Barletta. Corman and Hart each did so earlier this week, but White and McSwain, at this point, have vowed to stay in the race.
Some party leaders have reportedly feared Mastriano would not be able to win in a general election against Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running opposed on the Democratic ticket.
Mastriano has also been accused of belittling efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus and spreading conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mastriano was also subpoenaed by the January 6 Select Committee for his alleged role in the insurrection.
According to the select committee, Mastriano was allegedly “part of a plan to arrange for an “alternate” slate of electors from Pennsylvania for former President Trump and reportedly spoke with President Trump about post-election activities.”
The committee released its letter to Mastriano saying they “understand that (Mastriano was) present during the attack” and that he witnessed attacks on officers.
During Nexstar’s Republican Gubernatorial debate on April 28, Mastriano stated “there are no legal issues” regarding him and the Jan. 6 committee. During the debate, Mastriano also vowed to reset Pennsylvania’s voter roll, forcing all eligible residents to re-register to vote.
According to the Associated Press, “such a move is barred by the National Voter Registration Act and likely runs into significant protections under the federal — and possibly state — constitution and laws, constitutional law scholars say.”
Amid the reported push to support Barletta, Mastriano told abc27 “in the end, it confirms so many people’s suspicions that there is a political establishment that tries to pick winners and losers. Sadly in the Republican establishment, they tend to pick losers.”
Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial primary is May 17.
The Emerson College Polling Pennsylvania poll of Republican primary voters was conducted May 14-15, 2022. The Republican primary sample consisted of very likely voters, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by age, gender, region, education and mode based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.