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Franklin & Marshall poll shows Gov. Wolf leads Wagner by 19% points among registered voters

Gov. Tom Wolf signs an executive order for a $10.15 minimum wage for state employees and state-contracted workers.

Franklin & Marshall College Poll, released on Thursday shows that Gov. Tom Wolf leads Scott Wagner, a businessman and former state senator, by 19 percentage points among registered voters.

Wolf garnered 48 percent of support compared to Wagner’s 29 percent.

In the U.S. Senate battle, Casey leads U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta by 17 percentage points (44 percent to 27 percent).

It was the first statewide poll since the May primary election decided which Republicans would face Wolf and Casey in the Nov. 6 general election.

Since Wagner became the official GOP candidate, Wolf’s lead increased 10 percentage points.

But with so much time left, Wagner and Barletta are expected to close the gap when TV ad wars begin.

The poll found one-in-four voters remains undecided and a lot of those voters were Republicans and Independents.

Sixty-two percent of Democrats said they were “very interested” in casting ballots in the fall compared to half of the Republican respondents and 41 percent of independent voters.

The poll of 472 voters was conducted between June 4 and 10.

Thursday afternoon, Wagner issued a press release questioning the validity of the F&M poll and criticizing the media for reporting on it.

The statement reads, in part:

The Franklin and Marshall poll released today regarding the 2018 Pennsylvania gubernatorial race is inaccurate and misleading. Recent polling by McLaughlin and Associates, a nationally recognized polling firm, shows Scott Wagner within 7 points of Tom Wolf. The Franklin and Marshall poll should not be taken seriously by anyone who has an interest in this race, let alone by members of the media, who should be verifying information, not just reporting on what a left leaning pollster gives them.

The poll is fundamentally flawed on several levels, but one that our campaign wants to highlight is the most basic component of the survey – the partisan breakdown of the participants.  The self ID portion of the poll has Democrats at 51% and Republicans at 41% (Democrat +10), with the registration at 48% Democrat and 39% Republican (Democrat +9). Democratic turnout has never outweighed Republican turnout by 9 points in recent Pennsylvania history.

The Franklin and Marshall poll asked respondents who they voted for in the 2016 presidential election. Among respondents who voted, 51% are Clinton voters and 43% are Trump voters. As we all know, this is huge difference from what we saw in November of 2016, therefore skewing the poll in favor of Democrats.

McLaughlin and Associates’ polling is quite different. Unlike the Franklin and Marshall poll, McLaughlin surveyed likely voters who have a history of actually turning out. Our poll sees a single digit race among folks that have definitely made up their mind and shows a significant portion of voters still up for grabs. Perhaps more importantly, among voters who have formed an opinion of both Scott Wagner and Tom Wolf, Scott Wagner leads by 8%.

In its pollster rankings, FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Franklin & Marshall poll a B- grade, with a simple average error of 6.7. F&M has correctly called 84 percent of the races it has polled for, according to FiveThirtyEight’s reckoning.

McLaughlin & Associates received a C- grade with a simple average error of 5.9, according to FiveThirtyEight. It has correctly called 77 of the races it has predicted, FiveThirtyEight says.

According to the explanation on its website, FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings are calculated by analyzing the historical accuracy of each firm’s polls along with its methodology. Accuracy scores are adjusted for the type of election polled, the poll’s sample size, the performance of other polls surveying the same race, and other factors. FiveThirtyEight says it also calculates measures of statistical bias in the polls.