Franklin & Marshall Poll: 44% of Pennsylvanians ‘worse off’ financially than a year ago

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For immediate release Thursday, 2/26/09

The Franklin & Marshall College Poll.the 17th consecutive year of polling in

Please find attached and below the results of the February 2009 Franklin and
Marshall College Poll of Pennsylvanians produced at Franklin and Marshall
College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Complete results can be found in the
attachment or at .

Key Findings:

1) Nearly half (44%) of Pennsylvanians are "worse off" financially than they
were a year ago. Nearly one in three (29%) have experienced a reduction in
pay and one in four (22%) have been without health insurance coverage at
some point during the past year. Half (53%) of Pennsylvanians experienced at
least one of the 11 economic hardships presented in the survey.

2) Even though Pennsylvanians are facing difficult economic times, they see
better times ahead and demonstrate confidence in their political leaders.
Although seven in ten (71%) Pennsylvanians say that economic conditions in
the country are bad, more predict that conditions will be better (39%) a
year from now than worse (24%) or about the same (35%). Furthermore, seven
in ten (70%) registered adults are confident in President Obama’s ability to
manage the country’s economic problems, and nearly three in five (58%) are
confident in Governor Rendell’s ability to manage the state’s budget

3) Two in three (66%) registered Pennsylvanians believe the state
government’s financial condition is bad, although most believe the state
government’s condition is better (24%) or about the same (48%) as the
financial situations facing other state governments.

4) The state’s registered adults support some of the governor’s spending
proposals but are less enthusiastic about others. For instance, large
proportions favor increasing funding for economic development, renewable
energy, infrastructure, higher education, and health care. There is less
support for legalizing video poker, increasing funding for prisons, raising
taxes on natural gas extraction, and county sales taxes. Specific
cost-saving measures proposed by the governor tend to receive less support
than his spending proposals. More people oppose than support the governor’s
suggestions to eliminate more state government jobs (44% favor, 45% oppose),
eliminate funding for public television stations (40% favor, 52% oppose),
and reduce the number of school districts in the state (21% favor, 70%

5) Two in five (42%) registered Pennsylvanians say Governor Rendell is doing
an excellent (7%) or good (35%) job, while more than half (54%) indicate he
is doing only a fair (37%) or poor (17%) job.

6) More respondents are able to rate Senator Arlen Specter’s job performance
than Senator Bob Casey’s (8% and 20% don’t know, respectively). Both receive
positive job performance ratings from about two in five respondents (43% and
38% excellent or good, respectively).

7) More than half (55%) of registered Pennsylvanians indicate that President
Obama is doing an excellent (25%) or good (30%) job, while one in three
(36%) rate his performance as only fair (23%) or poor (13%).

These results and the attached analyses are based on the results of
interviews conducted February 17-22, 2009. 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 Project Manager Jennifer Harding. The data included in
this release represent the responses of 644 adult Pennsylvanians. Telephone
numbers for the survey were generated using random digit dialing, and
respondents were randomly selected from within each household. Survey
results were weighted using an iterative weighting algorithm. The sample
error for this survey is +/- 3.9 percent.

Dr. G. Terry Madonna
Director of the 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. 19604
(717) 291-4052 Office
(717 575-2164 Cell
717 358-4666 Fax
[email protected]