HARRISBURG -- Republican challenger Lynn Swann held a slight lead over incumbent Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell in a statewide poll released today, with a third of registered voters indicating they were open to voting for either man.
Thirty-five percent of those surveyed in the IssuesPA/Pew Poll said they were likely to vote for Swann, the retired Pittsburgh Steelers star and former college football television analyst. Twenty-nine percent said they would probably support Rendell, and 34 percent were considered up for grabs.
Rendell, a former Philadelphia mayor, is running strongest in that city and its suburbs. Swann's greatest support is in the state's south-central and southwestern regions.
Swann's press secretary, Melissa Walters, called the poll "another example of the clear momentum behind Lynn Swann's campaign and the growing support for change and reform in Pennsylvania."
Telephone messages seeking comment from Rendell's campaign officials were not immediately returned.
The poll showed confidence in Rendell at 55 percent, down 2 percentage points from an earlier survey in November.
Swann had a 39 percent favorable rating, but he is still unknown to many respondents. When asked their overall opinion of Swann, 43 percent of Pennsylvanians either could not rate him, had never heard of him, or had no answer.
Princeton Survey Associates interviewed 1,504 adult state residents March 14-22, including 1,229 registered voters. The sampling margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
IssuesPA is a statewide public-awareness project of the Pennsylvania Economy League. The poll was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
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