F&M Poll: Voters Worse Off Financially

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Franklin & Marshall College Poll

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

_Below are the highlights of the January 26, 2012 Franklin & Marshall
College Poll of Pennsylvania voters. Complete results can be found

The January 2012 Franklin and Marshall College Poll takes an in-depth look
at President Barack Obama’s standings with Pennsylvania voters. The poll
shows that the president’s job performance ratings and personal popularity
are middling, but also that his potential challengers are viewed more
negatively than positively by the state’s voters.

_Poll Highlights:_

1. Most (47%) of the state’s voters believe Pennsylvania is headed in the
wrong direction, a sentiment little changed during the past two years. The
last time a majority of the state’s registered voters believed the state was
headed in the right direction was September 2006.

2. More voters report they are worse off financially than are better off
financially (26% and 15%, respectively) compared to one year ago, although
most (60%) say their finances are the same as last year. Fewer voters
expect to be worse off financially next year (13%) than they were last March
(26%), the last time this question was asked. Most (51%) respondents report
economic and financial issues are their most pressing personal problems.

3. President Obama has seen a minor improvement in his job performance
ratings compared to the October 2011 Franklin and Marshall College Poll,
rising from 37% positive to 40% positive. Voters’ rating of his handling of
the economy, with only 29% providing a positive rating, is lower than his
overall job performance rating. Generally speaking, more voters in
Pennsylvania still believe it is time for a change (49%) than believe the
president deserves re-election (44%).

4. Despite President Obama’s tepid job approval ratings, he continues to
lead his Republican challengers in the state. Obama’s lead over both Romney
and Santorum is still more than 10 points. The president is up two points on
Romney from October; however, his lead over Santorum has remained stable at
13 points.

January 2012: Obama 41%, Romney 30%, other 8%, don’t know 24%
October 2012: Obama 35%, Romney 26%, other 10%, don’t know 30%
January 2012: Obama 43%, Santorum 30%, other 8%, don’t know 19%
October 2012: Obama 38%, Santorum 25%, other 11%, don’t know 26%

5. The explanation for the president’s current advantage may stem from
several sources. First, less than half (46%) of voters are very interested
in this year’s election; in January 2008, three in five (60%) voters were
very interested in that year’s election. Second, President Obama is more
personally appealing than either of the two Republican challengers tested
with nearly half (45%) of voters having a "favorable" opinion of the
president compared to around one-quarter who have a favorable opinion of
Mitt Romney (25%) and Rick Santorum (29%). Importantly, this pattern holds
true among independent voters.

These results reflect interviews with 614 Pennsylvania registered adults
conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College
from January 17-22, 2012 (sample error of +/- 4.0).

The Franklin & Marshall College Poll is conducted under the direction of the
poll’s Director Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost, and
Senior Project Manager Angela Knittle and 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.

The sample of registered voters was obtained from Voter Contact Services.
Survey results were weighted (age, gender, and party) using an iterative
weighting algorithm to reflect the known distribution of those
characteristics as reported by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

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Lancaster, PA 17603

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