PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WHTM) – The Democratic primary race for Philadelphia Mayor has tightened to a virtual four-way tie, according to an Emerson College Polling/PHL17 survey ahead of the May 16 election.
The poll of 600 likely Philadelphia Democratic voters shows Helen Gym leading with 20.5%, followed by Cherelle Parker with 18.2%, Rebecca Rhynhart with 17.7%, and Allan Domb at 13.6% with a margin of error of 3.9%.
Jeff Brown finished with 10.4%, while James DeLeon, Amen Brown, Delscia Gray, and Warren Bloom each finished with less than 3%. Of the voters surveyed, 15.1% were undecided with 23% of undecided voters leading toward Domb.
When undecided voters are asked which candidate they lean towards, and that is added to their total support, Gym’s support increases to 23%, Parker’s to 21%, Rhynhart’s to 20%, and Domb’s to 17%.
“This is an exciting race where there is no clear frontrunner,” Spencer Kimball, Executive
Director of Emerson College Polling, said. “The top four candidates are within the poll’s margin
of error, and could receive the most votes depending on demographic turnout.”
The survey also found a wide gap among voters in various demographics.
Gym holds a 10% lead over Rhynhart among voters under 50 years old, 33% to 23%, while Parker leads voters over 50 at 24%, followed by Domb at 21%.
Gym also leads Rhynhart among postgraduates with 41% to 20%, while voters with high school degrees or less favor Parker at 21%, followed by Rhynhart and Gym with 19% and 11%, respectively.
“Parker’s base of support is Black voters: 35% of whom support her for Mayor. However, she does not garner more than 10% from any other racial group. Meanwhile, Gym leads with Asian
voters with 32% support, and Gym leads Rhynhart among Hispanics 43% to 28%. Rhynhart and Gym split the white vote with 24% each.” Kimball said.
“The key may be Domb, who pulls 21% support from White voters. If Domb’s support changes that could create a pathway to victory for himself, or one of the other three candidates,” added Kimball.
Rhynhart has the highest favorability rating at 60% compared to 51% who have a favorable view of Parker, 47% of Domb, 44% of Gym, and 35% of Brown. Brown holds the highest unfavorable rating at 39%, followed by Gym and Domb at 36%, Parker at 31%, and Rhynhart at 20%.
When asked which of the candidates would best handle city finances, Rhynhart leads with 31%, followed by Gym at 20% and Domb at 18%.
Gym had the strongest support when asked who is most trusted to handle education with 29%, followed by Parker at 22% and Domb at 20%.
Crime was the most important issue for voters with 46% saying it will determine which candidate they will support.
Voters were split with 21% trusting Parker most to handle crime in Philadelphia, followed by 20% who trust Domb, 19% who trust Rhynhart, 18% who trust Gym, and 14% who trust Brown.
A slight majority of Democratic voters (51%) oppose the newly proposed Center City arena for
the Philadelphia 76ers that would be built on the border of Chinatown, while 30% support the new arena, and 19% are unsure.
“Of voters who support the proposed Center City arena, 26% plan to vote for Rhynhart, 17% for Domb, and 17% for Parker. Of those who oppose the arena, 30% plan to vote for Gym, and 21% for Parker. Of those who are undecided, 19% support Brown, 16% support Rhynhart,” Kimball said.
Extending the Broad Street subway line up Roosevelt Boulevard is popular among Democratic
voters: 72% support this while 12% oppose it. Sixteen percent are unsure.
An overwhelming majority of Philadelphia voters (71%) think the city is on the wrong track, while 29% think it’s headed in the right direction.
President Joe Biden holds a 60% approval among Democratic primary voters in Philadelphia. Biden won Philadelphia County with 81.44% during the 2020 Presidential Election over Donald Trump.
Former At-Large Philadelphia City Council Member David Oh is the only Republican running in the May 16 primary.
The Emerson College Polling Philadelphia survey was conducted May 7-9, 2023. The sample of
likely Democratic voters, n=600, has a margin of error (MOE), of +/- 3.9 percentage points. The
data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, age, and 2023 turnout modeling. Turnout
modeling is based on US Census parameters, and Pennsylvania voter registration data.
It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced.
Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and understand with a
confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.
Data was collected by contacting an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, cell
phones via SMS-to-web, and an online panel of voters.
All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross
tabulations can be downloaded by clicking the link above.