F&M Poll: Economic Concerns Linger

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The Franklin & Marshall College Poll…the 19th consecutive year of polling in Pennsylvania

Please find attached and below the results of the February 2010 Franklin & Marshall College Poll of Pennsylvanians. Complete results can be found in the attachment or at http://politics.fandm.edu.

1) Pennsylvanians continue to express pessimism about the economy. Four in ten (41%) say they are financially worse off this year than last, and only three in ten (28%) expect their personal finances to be better off a year from now. These figures have changed little since January.

2) Among registered Democrats, Senator Specter leads Joe Sestak (33% to
16%) in the primary race for U.S. Senate, although 44 percent remain undecided. In possible general election match-ups, Pat Toomey continues to lead both Specter (44% to 34%) and Sestak (38% to 20%) among likely voters. Registered Pennsylvanians cite the economy (30%) and healthcare
(21%) as the most important issues in their vote for U.S. Senate.

3) Nearly three in four (72%) Pennsylvania Democrats remain undecided about their primary race for governor. Tom Corbett continues to lead Sam Rohrer (26% to 4%) among Republicans for their gubernatorial nomination, but 65 percent remain undecided about their preference. Registered Pennsylvanians cite the economy (29%) and budget issues (13%) as the most important issues in their vote for governor.

4) President Obama’s favorability rating is 49 percent (compared to 44% in January), and his unfavorable rating stands at 39 percent (compared to 44% in January). Senator Specter’s favorability rating is 32 percent (compared to 35% in January), and his unfavorable rating stands at 45 percent (compared to 43% in January).

5) President Obama’s job approval in Pennsylvania has remained stable, with 41 percent (compared to 38% in January) saying he is doing an excellent or good job. Senator Specter’s job approval is 30 percent (compared to 34% in January), and only a quarter (25%) of Pennsylvanians say he deserves re-election (compared to 29% in January). Those who say Specter does not deserve re-election cite his length of service (32%) and party switch (23%) as the main reasons.

6) Pennsylvanians continue to express dissatisfaction with the direction of the state. Fifty percent say the state is off on the wrong track (compared to 53% in January), while 37 percent say the state is headed in the right direction (compared to 39% in January).

7) Six in ten (62%) registered Pennsylvanians say they are familiar with the tea party movement, while 35 percent have heard nothing about it.
Among those who are familiar with the movement, 39 percent say they support it, and 45 percent say they would likely vote for a tea party candidate.

8) Tea party supporters and opponents have very different ideas about the movement’s primary goals. Supporters most commonly cite smaller government/fiscal responsibility (31%) and more representative government (14%) as the movement’s primary goals, compared to opponents who give less concrete responses, such as anti-Democratic/pro-Republican motives (35%) and general negative comments (15%). Supporters also are more knowledgeable about the movement’s goals-only nine percent say they don’t know compared to one quarter (24%) of opponents.

These survey findings are based on the results of interviews conducted February 15-21, 2010 at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College under the direction of the poll’s Director Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost, and Project Manager Jennifer Harding. The data included in this release represent the responses of
1143 adult residents of Pennsylvania, including 954 registered adults
(481 Democrats, 340 Republicans, and 133 registered as Independent/Other, 22 refused to identify party). Telephone numbers for the survey were generated using random digit dialing, and respondents were randomly selected from within each household. Survey results were weighted (age, education, race, region, and gender) using an iterative weighting algorithm. The sample error for this survey is +/- 2.9 percentage points. The sample error for registered adults is +/- 3.2 percentage points and is slightly higher for registered Democrats (+/-
4.5 percentage points) and registered Republicans (+/- 5.3 percentage points). The Franklin & Marshall College Poll is produced in conjunction with the Philadelphia Daily News, WGAL-TV (South Central PA), Pittsburgh Tribune Review, WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh), WPVI-TV6/ABC (Philadelphia), Times-Shamrock Newspapers, Harrisburg Patriot-News, and Lancaster Newspapers. It may be used in whole or in part, provided any use is attributed to Franklin & Marshall College.

Dr. G. Terry Madonna
Director, Center for Politics and Public Affairs Director, Franklin and Marshall College Poll Professor of Public Affairs Franklin & Marshall College P.O. Box 3003
Lancaster, PA. 17604
(717) 291-4052 Office
(717) 575-2164 Cell