In PA: Obama Leads McCain by Seven Points: Franklin and Marshall College Poll

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For immediate release Wednesday, 10/01/08

Please find attached and below the results of the September 2008 Franklin and Marshall College Poll of registered Pennsylvania voters produced at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Complete results can be found in the attachment or at

Key Findings:

1) Barack Obama leads John McCain by seven points (45% to 38%) among registered Pennsylvanians, while 14 percent are undecided and two percent would vote for another candidate. Obama’s advantage is smaller when undecided but leaning voters are included (48% to 43%).

2) Obama holds a sizeable lead among women (53% to 32%), younger residents (51% to 39%), non-whites (84% to 5%), college graduates (51% to 34%), and residents of Philadelphia (72% to 13%). McCain has an advantage among Protestants (48% to 36%), fundamentalist Christians (50% to 37%), veterans (51% to 32%), and residents in northwestern Pennsylvania (47% to 35%). Obama has an advantage among independents (52% to 24%).

3) A substantial majority (82%) of registered Pennsylvanians believe the country is off on the wrong track, and two in five (40%) say they are worse off financially this year than last. Obama is the choice of those who say the country is off on the wrong track (52% to 31%), while McCain has substantial support from those who say the country is moving in the right direction (73% to 14%). Obama leads among those who say their personal finances are worse off compared to last year (58% to 22%), and McCain does well among those whose personal finances are better than last year (54% to 30%).

4) More than half (52%) of registered voters cite the economy as the most important issue in their vote for president – an increase of 11 points since mid-August. Only 16 percent of registered Pennsylvanians indicate that President Bush is doing an excellent (1%) or good job (15%), while 83 percent say he is doing only a fair (27%) or poor job (56%). Almost half of respondents believe that McCain will mostly continue Bush’s economic policies (49%) and a large majority believes he will continue his foreign policies (60%). Half (50%) of respondents say they would be concerned if McCain was elected president, mostly because of his views on policy issues (35%) and the perception that he will carry on the policies of the Bush administration (33%). Slightly more (51%) respondents would be concerned if Obama was elected president, mostly because of his inexperience (48%) and views on policy issues (26%).

5) Both candidates perform about the same among their own party voters. McCain draws 73 percent of Republicans while Obama carries 72 percent of Democrats, but Obama has opened up a large lead among independents (52%to 24%).

These results and the attached analyses are based on the results of interviews conducted September 23-28, 2008. 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, Brad Nankerville. The data included in this release represent the responses of 767 registered 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 to adjust for different selection probabilities and non-response. The sample error for registered voters is +/- 3.5 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]