PA Voters Pessimistic About the Economy

Member Group : News Releases

For immediate release, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Franklin & Marshall College Poll…the 19th consecutive year of polling in Pennsylvania

Please find attached and below the results of the May 2010 Franklin & Marshall College Poll of Pennsylvanians. Complete results can be found in the attachment or at

1) Pennsylvanians continue to express pessimism about the economy. Four in ten (39%) say they are financially worse off this year than last, and only three in ten (29%) expect their personal finances to be better off a year from now. These figures have changed little since March.

2) Dan Onorato leads among Democrats (27%, compared to 11% in March) in their primary race for governor, half (56%) still remain undecided. Tom Corbett continues to lead Sam Rohrer (29% to 10%) among Republicans for their gubernatorial nomination, but 60 percent remain undecided about their preference. Registered Pennsylvanians cite the economy, taxes, and budget issues (21%, 16%, and 15%, respectively) as the most important issues in their vote for governor.

3) Among likely Democratic voters, Joe Sestak now leads Senator Specter (38% to 36%) in their primary race for U.S. Senate, with about one in four undecided. The attached full report contains an analysis of the race.

4) Among registered Pennsylvanians, Pat Toomey continues to lead both Specter (35% to 33%) and Sestak (29% to 28%) in the general election race for U.S. Senate. Registered Pennsylvanians cite the economy (26%) and healthcare (12%) as the most important issues in their vote for U.S.

5) President Obama’s favorable and unfavorable ratings remain largely unchanged since March (44% and 46%, respectively). Senator Specter’s favorable and unfavorable ratings have also remained mostly unchanged since March (32% and 47%, respectively).

6) President Obama and Senator Specter’s job approvals in Pennsylvania remain virtually unchanged since March (38% and 32%, respectively).
Roughly one in four Pennsylvanians say Specter deserves re-election (26%, compared to 28% in March), while those who say he does not deserve re-election continue to cite his party switch (33%) and time in office
(22%) as the main reasons.

7) Pennsylvanians remain for the most part dissatisfied with the direction of the state– 55 percent say the state is headed in the wrong direction (compared to 58% in March), while 35 percent say the state is headed in the right direction (compared to 32% in March).

8) Half of Pennsylvanians (50%) support the selling of state-owned liquor stores to private companies, while 37 percent are opposed. Nearly seven in ten Pennsylvanians (69%) oppose an appointment system for state judges, while 24 percent are in favor.

Methodology: The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted May 3-9, 2010. 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 Angela Knittle. The data included in this release represent the responses of 1023 adult residents of Pennsylvania, including 861 registered adults (404 Democrats, 321 Republicans, 117 registered as Independent/Other, and 19 who refused to identify party). Telephone numbers for the survey were generated using random digit dialing, 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 +/- 3.1 percentage points. The sample error for registered adults is +/- 3.3 percentage points and is slightly higher for registered Democrats (+/- 4.9 percentage points) and registered Republicans (+/- 5.5 percentage points). The subsample of Democratic likely voters has a sample error of
+/- 7.9 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]