(WHTM) – A majority of Pennsylvania Republicans say the amount of time a candidate has lived in Pennsylvania is important when considering their vote.

According to a new WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll released on Thursday, 40.7% of Pennsylvania Republicans say it’s very important to their vote that a candidate has lived in Pennsylvania.

More than 32% say it’s somewhat important to their vote, and 10% say it’s not very or not at all important. Nearly 17% say they’re unsure or neutral on a candidate’s residency.

Nearly 78% of Democrats and 64.7% of Independents say residency is very or somewhat important.

The question of residency has been at the forefront of the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race where the top two candidates in the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll, David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz, have drawn criticism for not recently living in Pennsylvania.

Oz has previously lived in New Jersey but went to school in Philadelphia.

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In an interview with abc27’s Dennis Owens, Oz said he’s in “good shape” if the biggest criticism against him is his residency.

“I’m very proud that I’m a Pennsylvanian,” Oz said. “They care much more for what I stand for than where I’m from.”

During the March 6 episode of This Week in Pennsylvania, McCormick highlighted his background as a “seventh-generation Pennsylvanian.”

“I’ve spent more of my life in Pennsylvania, more than half of my life in Pennsylvania. I grew up here in Bloomsburg on the family farm trimming Christmas trees and baling hay.”

The poll found younger voters (18-29) had the greatest concern with a candidate’s residency with 51.6% saying it was very important. Each of the other age categories rated the residency question as very important with 42.4-46.5% support.

Voters with a post-graduate degree or higher had the biggest concern about a candidate’s residency with 53.5% saying it was very important to their vote. Only 41.9% of voters with some college education found it very important. Fifty percent of urban/city residents said residency was very important.

More than 48% of men and 43% of women said residency was important to their vote.

Nearly 79% of Pennsylvania voters who supported Joe Biden in the 2020 election say residency is either very or somewhat important and 71.5% of those who supported Donald Trump agreed with the importance.

Polling methodology

The WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania poll was conducted from March 26-28, 2022. The general election sample consisted of registered voters in Pennsylvania, n=1,069 with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The Republican primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=372, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-5.0 percentage points. The Democratic primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=471, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-4.5 percentage points.

The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, and region based on 2020 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, 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, an online panel provided by Amazon MTurk, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.

The full poll can be reviewed here.