Franklin & Marshall Release Statewide Poll

Member Group : News Releases

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

Please find attached and below the results of the March 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) Registered adults in the state support many of the proposals now before the legislature, such as allowing small games of chance (73% favor, 21% oppose), making it against the law to use a handheld cell phone while driving (71% favor, 27% oppose), limiting the purchasing of handguns to one per month per person (66% favor, 31% oppose), allowing casinos to offer table games (63% favor, 32% oppose), and allowing early voting (62% favor, 35% oppose). On the other hand, more Pennsylvanians oppose (58%) than support (34%) allowing municipalities to regulate firearms within their jurisdiction.

2) Senator Arlen Specter’s job performance has improved since February, when 43 percent positively rated his job performance (8% excellent and 35% good). This month Specter’s positive ratings increased to 52 percent (13% excellent and 39% good). In a hypothetical matchup with two of Specter’s likely primary opponents, four in ten (42%) Republicans have no preference at the moment. Among this small sample, Specter leads with 33 percent to Pat Toomey’s 18 percent and Peg Luksik’s two percent. More registered adults say it is time for a change (46%) than believe Specter deserves re-election (40%); half (51%) of Republicans believe it is time for a change.

3) Even though Pennsylvanians are dealing with difficult economic times, they see better times ahead and express confidence in the Obama administration. Six in ten (62%) Pennsylvanians say that economic conditions in the country are bad, but more predict that conditions will be better (40%) a year from now than worse (13%). In February one in four (24%) Pennsylvanians said that economic conditions would be worse a year from now. Furthermore, seven in ten (72%) registered adults are confident in President Obama’s ability to manage the country’s economic problems, and six in ten (60%) rate his job performance as excellent (23%) or good (37%).

4) This month fewer Pennsylvanians indicate they are worse off financially than they were a year ago (36% compared to 44% in February) and experienced at least one of the 11 economic hardships presented in the survey (47% compared to 53% in February). In particular fewer report a reduction in pay (22% compared to 29% in February) and a lack of health insurance coverage (16% compared to 22% in February) during the past year.

These results and the attached analyses are based on the results of interviews conducted March 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 662 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 +/- 3.8 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]

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