Philly Republicans lean toward Donald Trump, poll says
In a straw poll conducted by the Philadelphia Republican Party, one familiar and divisive candidate came out on top:
The Donald gained 37 percent of votes in a secret ballot among the city’s Republican ward leaders and committee people last week.
Sen. Marco Rubio came in second place with 22 percent of the votes, with the further right-wing Sen. Ted Cruz trailing third at 9 percent.
But with only 107 votes cast, the poll provides on a miniscule sample of the party as a whole. There are about 111,000 registered Republicans in Philadelphia, roughly 11 percent of the city’s total registered voters.
With 107 ballots counted, that could very well translate to around 40 Trump fans floating about the local party. But there’s some compelling evidence to suggest that Trump’s favor among blue-collar Philadelphians has a wider, historically precedented reach.
“I think it gives you a rough estimate of where people stood,” Joe DeFelice, Philly GOP's director, said by phone on Monday. “Is it fair to say that if we did a poll of all the registered Republicans in Philadelphia that’s how it would turn out? No. But Republican ward leaders and activists — that’s who voted here. These are the kind of people that will be working the polls, getting people out to vote come election day.”
DeFelice says local party rarely endorses a presidential candidate. So what difference could this make in the late-date Pennsylvania primary?
“We’d follow the lead of the state party, which is we’d do for statewide races. I can’t imagine we’d break from the state party on that. But I don’t see the state party convening to endorse for president,” he said.
Here’s the full breakdown of the straw poll:
Donald Trump 37%
Sen. Marco Rubio 22%
Sen. Ted Cruz 9%
Sen. Rand Paul 7%
Gov. Jeb Bush 5%
Gov. John Kasich 5%
Gov. Chris Christie 4%
Carly Fiorina 4%
Sen. Rick Santorum 4%
Dr. Ben Carson 3%
Gov. Mike Huckabee 0%