PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – According to a new Franklin and Marshall poll, Donald Trump is leading among Pennsylvania Republicans at 22-percent. Rubio is at 16-percent and Kasich at 15-percent. This poll is unremarkable in that it confirms what is happening in many places. However, the figure that jumps out is how Trump is doing among Philadelphia Republicans.
According to the poll, Trump has 50-percent of Republican voters with all the other candidates in single digits. This surprises me. One theory is the registered Republicans are so marginalized and under attack in Philadelphia that they are thrilled to see Trump be politically incorrect under all circumstances.
Philadelphia Magazine has a more interesting and global theory. They see Trump as the reincarnation of former Mayor Frank Rizzo. In the March issue, they chronicle Rizzo’s appeal as being an outsized personality, hatred for the media , and over the top rhetoric. I would add that Rizzo like Trump was the prize for media interviews due to his outlandish quotes.
Philly Mag quotes Timothy J. Lombardo , author of a new book on Rizzo, as saying “Trump plays this over-the-top and very masculine role. Same thing Rizzo did. People are unwilling to trust politicians of any stripe, but these guys don’t sound like politicians.” He calls it “a populism of style.”
These polls speculate that Trump’s Philadelphia appeal is particularly strong in the river wards and northeast Philadelphia. I think in those areas many registered Democrats might also support Trump. He does reach the same moderate Democrats who supported Rizzo.
Could this support work for Trump to win Pennsylvania in the general election if he is the Republican nominee? It would certainly help him but the caution is that Trump also has huge unfavorable ratings across Pennsylvania. This should make for great theater and place Pennsylvania back in swing state status.