Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) holds a 15-point lead over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) in a new CNN poll of Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, a much wider gap than the state’s key Senate race, in a contest that has drawn recent controversy over the Mastriano campaign’s comments on Shapiro’s Jewish faith.
Some 56% percent of likely voters support Shapiro, while 41% plan to vote for Mastriano, according to the CNN/SSRS poll of 901 registered voters conducted between October 13 and 17, with a margin of error of 4.1 points.
Shapiro has broad support among Democrats polled—99% said they back him—while Mastriano has the support of 82% of Republicans, leaving open the possibility that the race could shift in the GOP’s favor if the party rallies behind Mastriano before election day.
Independent voters are also firmly behind Shapiro, who leads Mastriano 53% to 42% among the group.
Other polls show Shapiro with a smaller but fairly steady lead over Mastriano: The Democratic candidate leads by 8.6 points in FiveThirtyEight’s weighted polling average, with a handful of polls giving Shapiro a double-digit advantage.
Pennsylvanians are also split on their faith in the election’s legitimacy: A total of 70% of voters said they are “very/somewhat confident” votes will be counted accurately in Pennsylvania, with 94% of Democrats holding the viewpoint, compared to just 46% of Republicans.
In the closely watched race for the Pennsylvania Senate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is leading Republican challenger and TV personality Mehmet Oz 51% to 45%, the CNN/SSRS poll found. Fetterman’s lead is just 2.6 points in FiveThirtyEight’s average.
Partisan voting preferences were similar in Michigan: In another CNN/SSRS poll released Monday, 99% of Democratic voters back incumbent Gretchen Whitmer (D), compared to her Republican opponent Tudor Dixon’s 89% support among voters in her party.
Mastriano has become a controversial figure in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf (D). After the 2020 presidential election, Mastriano often repeated false voter fraud claims promoted by allies of former President Donald Trump, and has pledged to make all Pennsylvanians re-register to vote if he becomes governor. Mastriano and his campaign have also faced criticism for comments about Shapiro’s faith: The candidate attacked Shapiro for sending his children to what he calls a “privileged, exclusive, elite” Jewish day school, and advisor Jenna Ellis tweeted last week Shapiro is “at best a secular Jew.” His comments about Shapiro—and dealings with far-right social media platform Gab—may have alienated voters in a state that is home to the Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 people were shot and killed in an antisemitic attack in 2018. Mastriano issued a statement condemning antisemitism following outrage over revelations his campaign paid $5,000 to Gab, which was used by the accused Pittsburgh shooter to post antisemitic rants, The New York Times reported.
In a Race Rife With Antisemitism Concerns, Mastriano Adviser Calls Shapiro ‘At Best a Secular Jew’ (The New York Times)
Doug Mastriano Faces Criticism Over His Backing From Antisemitic Ally (The New York Times)
Sara Dorn, Forbes Staff