F&M Poll: Voters Want it All

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The Franklin & Marshall College Poll…the 20th consecutive year of polling in Pennsylvania

Please find attached and below the results of the March, 2011, Franklin & Marshall College Poll of Pennsylvanians. Complete results can be found in the attachment or at http://politics.fandm.edu

1) Most (53%) Pennsylvania adults believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, and most say they are worse off (31%) or the same (57%) financially as they were last year. Equal proportions of adults believe they will be better off financially (27%) as believe they will be worse off financially (26%) in the coming year. Pennsylvanians feel no better about their financial conditions than they did last fall.

2) Most state residents believe the state’s financial condition is bad (47%) or very bad (31%), although only one in five (20%) believes Pennsylvania is in worse fiscal condition than most other states. Residents generally have confidence in Governor Corbett’s ability to handle the state’s budget problems, as 53 percent express confidence (8% very, 45% somewhat) while 39 percent lack confidence in the governor, (23% not very, 16% not at all)

3) There remains strong opposition to increasing the state income and sales tax—only one in four (27%) residents supports increasing the income tax and only one in three (36%) favors increasing the sales tax. There is strong support for taxing the companies that extract and sell natural gas (62 percent favor while 30 percent oppose) and an even larger percentage of residents favor taxing smokeless tobacco and cigars (72 percent favor while 26 percent oppose).

4)Pennsylvanians are not in favor of the education cuts proposed by the Corbett Administration. Funding cuts to school districts are opposed by 78 percent of respondents while cutting funding to public universities in the state is opposed by 67 percent of respondents. Cuts to Medicaid do not draw much support either (70 percent of Pennsylvanians oppose these cuts).

5) Two in three (64%) Pennsylvanians favor selling the state liquor stores.

6) Respondents were divided about reducing the pay and benefits of state mployees (47 percent opposed while 45 percent favored the reductions) although three in five (60%) support reducing the number of state employees.

7) Pennsylvanians are divided in their opinion about how to handle the state’s fiscal situation. Two in five (39%) state residents believe the state should balance its budget through program and service cuts while a similar proportion (38%) believes the state should both cut spending and increase taxes to balance the budget. Few (6%) believe that tax increases alone are the way to solve the state’s budget problems.


The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted March10-14, 2011. The interviews were conducted 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 Senior Project Manager Angela Knittle. Telephone numbers for the survey were generated using random digit dialing with a cell phone supplement, 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 +/- 4.3 percentage points. The sample error for registered adults is +/- 4.8 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, this poll is also subject to other sources of non-sampling error. Generally speaking, two sources of error concern researchers most. Non-response bias is created when selected participants either choose not to participate in the survey or are unavailable for interviewing. Response errors are the product of the question and answer process. Surveys that rely on self-reported behaviors and attitudes are susceptible to biases related to the way respondents process and respond to survey questions.

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
(717) 358-4666 Fax
[email protected]