Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Director
Center for Politics & Public Affairs
Mr. Berwood A. Yost, Director
Center for Opinion Research
The Keystone Poll is conducted by the Center for Politics & Public Affairs at Millersville University for Fox News, Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Harrisburg Patriot. The telephone survey was conducted April 5 - 8, 2001, among a random sample of 499 registered voters. The sample contained 199 Republicans, 228 Democrats, and 72 Independents and Others. The sample error for the total sample is plus or minus 4.4%. As with all opinion surveys, these results are also subject to non-sampling errors. Non-sampling errors are best defined as errors that arise from interviewing, questionnaire design, and data analysis. The poll was directed by Dr. G. Terry Madonna. Data analysis and quantitative and methodological work were done by Mr. Berwood Yost. A statement relative to sample design and methodology is available upon request.
Any use of this survey must indicate that it was conducted at Millersville University.
Likely Voters: Interest and Issues
Pennsylvanias likely voters have a great deal of interest in the upcoming elections. Currently, more than nine in ten (93%) are either very or somewhat interested in this years political campaigns. Only six percent say they have not been very interested in following the campaigns.
Education, mentioned by more than one in four (28%) respondents, is currently the states dominant problem, according to voters. Economic concerns (10%), taxes (9%), and health care (8%) show up as major issues much less frequently, as Table 1 shows. Table 2 shows that voters concerns have changed little over the past month of electioneering.
On the other hand, voters personal concerns are more diverse than their concerns for the state. Health care (18%), taxes (14%), education (11%), and personal finances (11%) are all frequently mentioned as the most important personal problems facing voters. Table 1 reveals the voters list of personal problems.
The race for Pennsylvanias 23 electoral votes is extremely close. Republican George Bush currently leads his Democratic rival Al Gore by the slimmest possible margin, 43 percent to 42 percent. Roughly one in ten (9%) voters are undecided. George Bush has gained considerable momentum since the last Keystone Poll (conducted at the end of September) showed him trailing Gore by a wide margin (see Figure 1). Most voters are sure about their presidential choices--84 percent of Gore supporters and 86 percent of Bush supporters say the will not change their minds between now and election day. The exception to this is among Ralph Naders supporters. Five percent of Pennsylvanias voters currently plan to vote for Nader; however, most (56%) of his supporters are still making up their minds about their ultimate vote choice.
The reasons voters give for supporting Gore and Bush differ. As Table 3 displays, Gore voters support the candidate because of his issue positions (60%) or his personal qualities (14%). Bush voters also support the candidate because of his issue stands (47%) and personal qualities (17%); however, about one in five (18%) Bush supporters intend to vote for him because they dislike Al Gore.
The Bush Resurgence
To what can we attribute the Bush resurgence? First, Bush is now viewed more favorably by a larger proportion (43%) of Pennsylvania voters than he was at the end of September (36%). During the same time, the proportion of voters who have an unfavorable opinion of Al Gore has increased, from 32 to 37 percent. Table 4 reveals how the candidates favorability ratings among voters have changed over the past year and a half in Pennsylvania.
Table 5 reveals two additional reasons for the Bush resurgence. First, there has been a pronounced change in regional support for the candidates. Bush currently leads Gore 58 percent to 31 percent in the northwest and 48 percent to 31 percent in the southwest. In September, Al Gore led in both these regions of Pennsylvania. Second, Gores advantage among women voters has also narrowed since September. Currently, Gore wins female voters by a 45 percent to 38 percent margin; in September he led 53 percent to 31 percent. George Bushs lead among men has also increased over the past month, going from a 44 to 43 percent advantage in September to his current 48 to 39 percent advantage.
What will Undecided Voters do?
No group of voters has been more scrutinized, with less certainty, than those voters who are undecided about their vote choice in the upcoming presidential election. What these voters do, including whether they vote at all, will decide whether Gore or Bush becomes the next president. Conventional wisdom regarding undecided voters leads to two different conclusions about how they might vote. In the past, vote choices in presidential elections have turned largely on domestic matters when no major foreign crisis existed. Historically, the candidate of the party controlling the White House benefits from a good economy, which means Al Gores reelection should be a slam-dunk. This years presidential election, however, may be a major exception to that historical precedent. There is evidence in survey research that in seven out of ten races involving an incumbentconsider Gore an incumbent herethe challenger is likely to win more undecided voters than the incumbent, notably when the incumbent does not earn at least fifty percent of the popular vote. The 1980 presidential election could be a parallel. In the Carter/Reagan contest, undecided voters broke heavily for challenger Reagan in the final days of the campaign, giving him a decisive victory. The economy, however, was in disastrous shape and the Iran hostage crisis was in full force, something very different from the current environment. But, if voters believe that the Clinton scandals, Gores personality shortcomings, and the character and integrity dimensions of the campaign override the positive economy, the incumbent advantage Gore holds could work against him.
Another way of assessing undecided voters is to examine their demographic and attitudinal characteristics. Table 6 displays some characteristics of undecided voters. Among these groups, Bush and Gore have distinct advantages, but none seem particularly decisive in determining the outcome of Pennsylvanias presidential election. Among undecided voters, there are more registered Republicans than Democrats. Bush seems to have a slight advantage among voters who consider abortion and gun control important issues in the campaign. Among decided voters, only the staunchest advocates of gun control and abortion rights prefer Gore to Bush (those who "strongly favor" more gun laws and those who believe abortion should always be legal). Decided voters who are more moderate in their views on gun control and abortion rights are more likely to support Bush, as are those who "strongly oppose" gun control and abortion. On the other hand, Gore has advantages as well. Among females who make up a huge block of the undecided vote, Gore wins convincingly. In ideological terms, moderates tend to support Gore, and moderate voters comprise almost one-half of all undecided voters. Finally, many undecided voters indicate that issues, and not personality, will drive their final presidential selection. This benefits Gore, since more of his support comes from those concerned more about issues than personality.
Neither candidate seems to have a definitive edge among undecided voters. While both have advantages and disadvantages among the undecided pool, neither seems positioned to win a substantial proportion of the undecided vote. Put another way, undecided voters might narrowly split their votes between Bush and Gore proportionate to the way decided voters indicate they will vote.
The U.S. Senate Race
The U.S. Senate contest in Pennsylvania continues to be a runaway. Republican incumbent Rick Santorum continues to lead his Democratic challenger Ron Klink by a wide margin, 48 percent to 27 percent, with one in four (25%) voters still undecided (see Figure 2).
The numbers in this race have changed little since July.
Klink is now better known to the states voters than he was even a month ago, but his name continues to be unrecognized by more than four in ten (42%) voters. Moreover, as Klink has become better known, his unfavorable ratings have increased to a point where more people now view him unfavorably than favorably (see Table 7). Santorums favorable ratings have remained constant throughout the past year.
The State Row Offices
The races for the states row offices, Attorney General, Auditor General, and Treasurer, have not been closely followed by many of the states voters. On average, about four in ten voters remain undecided in these races. Incumbent Auditor General Robert Casey continues to hold a large lead over his Republican challenger, Katie True, 37 percent to 20 percent. Incumbent Attorney General Mike Fisher has a double digit lead over his Democratic rival, Jim Eisenhower, 32 percent to 21 percent. In the closest of these contests, incumbent Treasurer Barbara Hafer holds a 36 percent to 28 percent lead over Catherine Baker Knoll. Table 8 presents voters intentions in these three contests.
1. Some people are registered to vote and many others are not. Are you currently registered to vote at your present address?
2. Are you currently registered as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or something else?
3. Many people will vote in the upcoming general election in November; however, many other people will NOT. What would you say are the chances of your voting in the upcoming election? Are you certain to vote, will you probably vote, are the chances 50-50 you will vote, or dont you think that you will vote in the election?
88% Certain to Vote
12% Probably will Vote
4. Some people dont pay much attention to political campaigns. How about you? Would you say that you have been very much interested, somewhat interested, or not very interested in following the political campaigns so far this year?
53% Very Much Interested
40% Somewhat Interested
6% Not Very Interested
<1% Don't Know
5. I'd like to ask you a few questions about some people involved in politics today. Is your opinion of RON KLINK favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about RON KLINK to have an opinion?
36% Have Not Heard
6% Dont Know
6. Is your opinion of RICK SANTORUM favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about RICK SANTORUM to have an opinion?
15% Have Not Heard
3% Dont Know
7. Is your opinion of AL GORE favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about AL GORE to have an opinion?
1% Have Not Heard
2% Dont Know
8. Is your opinion of GEORGE BUSH favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about GEORGE BUSH to have an opinion?
1% Have Not Heard
2% Dont Know
9. If the election for President were being held today, would you vote for
42% Al Gore, the Democrat
43% George W. Bush, the Republican
5% Ralph Nader, The Green Party
1% Pat Buchanan, The Reform Party
9% Dont Know
10. Are you absolutely certain you will vote for [INSERT CANDIDATE SELECTED IN Q9] in the election, or are you still making up your mind?
17% Still deciding
1% Dont know
11. [ASK ONLY IF VOTING FOR BUSH OR GORE] What is the main reason you plan to vote for [George Bush/Al Gore]? Is it because you like him as a person, you prefer his stand on some issues, you dislike the other candidate, you usually vote for [Republicans/Democrats], or is there some other reason you plan to vote for [George Bush/Al Gore]?
15% Like Personally
54% Issue Position
13% Dislike Opponent
6% Prefer Party
1% Dont Know
11a. What is it you most like about him?
13% Relates well to voters/personable
11% Past policies
5% Family Man
11b. Which of his issue positions are most important?
17% Elderly Health Care
13% Social Security
9% Tax Cut
4% Government Reform
4% Gun Ownership
3% All of Them
2% Dont Know
1% Military Defense
11c. What do you dislike about [George Bush/Al Gore]?
7% Party Ideology
5% Poor Past Performance
2% Dont Know
2% Fanatical Views
12. [ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTION ONLY IF RESPONDED DONT KNOW WHO THEY WILL VOTE FOR IN QUESTION 9]: As of today, do you lean more to
26% Al Gore, the Democrat
22% George W. Bush, the Republican
6% Ralph Nader, The Green Party
2% Pat Buchanan, The Reform Party
44% Dont Know
Q13. [ASK THE FOLLOWING ONLY OF THOSE WHO DONT KNOW WHO THEY WILL VOTE FOR IN QUESITON 12]: When you finally choose a candidate for President, what do you think will be most important in helping you decide. Will it be because you like him as a person, you prefer his stand on some issues, you dislike the other candidate, you usually vote for [Republicans/Democrats], or will something else be most important?
64% Issue positions
18% Like Personally
14% Dont Know
4% Prefer party
14. Regardless of who you plan to vote for, do you believe that Al Gore is qualified to be President?
4% Dont Know
14a. [IF NO]: Why not?
18% Issues he is addressing/Lacks control of issues
9% Lacks experience
5% Bad past performance
3% Do Not Know
2% Lacks Intellect
1% Too liberal
1% Poor speaker
15. Regardless of who you plan to vote for, do you believe that George Bush is qualified to be President?
4% Dont Know
15a. [IF NO]: Why not?
33% Lacks experience
11% Issues he is addressing/Lacks control of issues
8% Lacks intellect
6% Bad past performance
5% Do Not Know
16. If the election for Pennsylvanias US Senator were being held today, would you vote for
27% Ron Klink, the Democrat
48% Rick Santorum, the Republican
25% Dont Know
17. Are you absolutely certain you will vote for [INSERT CANDIDATE SELECTED ABOVE] in the election, or are you still making up your mind?
23% Still deciding
2% Dont know
18. [ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTION ONLY IF RESPONDED DONT KNOW WHO THEY WILL VOTE FOR IN QUESTION 16]: As of today, do you lean more to
11% Ron Klink, the Democrat
21% Rick Santorum, the Republican
69% Dont Know
19. Now, I'd like to ask you about the election for State Auditor General, Attorney General, and Treasurer If the election for state Auditor General were held today, would you vote for
37% Robert Casey, Jr. the Democrat
20% Katie True, the Republican
43% Don't Know
20. If the election for state Attorney General were held today, would you vote for
21% Jim Eisenhower, the Democrat
32% Michael Fisher, the Republican
48% Don't Know
21. If the election for state Treasurer were held today, would you vote for
28% Catherine Baker Knoll, the Democrat
36% Barbara Hafer, the Republican
36% Don't Know
22. Thinking about the last few state and national elections, which best describes how you voted: straight democrat, mostly democrat, a few more democrats than republicans, about equally for both parties, a few more republicans than democrats, mostly republican, or straight republican?
12% Straight Democrat
19% Mostly Democrat
7% A Few More Democrats than Republicans
23% About Equally for Both Parties
7% A Few More Republicans than Democrats
18% Mostly Republican
8% Straight Republican
6% Don't Know
23. In politics, as of today, do you think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent?
20% Strong Republican
11% Not Very Strong Republican
12% Lean Republican
10% Lean Democrat
11% Not Very Strong Democrat
21% Strong Democrat
4% Dont Know
24. What do you think is the most important problem facing Pennsylvania today?
10% Do Not Know
8% Health Care
3% Social Security
2% Population, Sprawl
2% Elderly Care
1% Fuel Prices
1% Gun Control
1% Child Care
25. What do you think is the most important problem facing you and your family today?
18% Health Care
8% Social Security
7% Do Not Know
3% Elderly Care
1% Fuel Prices
1% Child Care
<1% Population, Sprawl
I now have a few final questions for statistical purposes only.
CNTY. What is the name of the county you live in?
AGE. What was your AGE on your last birthday?
20% 65 and over
EDUC. What was the last grade level of schooling you have completed?
36% High School or Less
26% Some College
38% College Degree
MAR. What is your CURRENT marital status? NOTE: If SINGLE ASK, "Have you ever been married?"
17% Single, Never Married
9% Widow, Widower
<1% Do Not Know
IDEO. Politically speaking, do you consider yourself to be a liberal, a moderate, or a conservative?
8% Do not know
REL. Do you consider yourself to be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or something else?
22% Something Else
2% Do not know
BAC. Do you consider yourself to be a born-again Christian or fundamentalist?
8% Do not know
VET. Are you a military veteran?
TALK. Are you a frequent listener to political talk shows?
1% Do not know
GUN1. Are you a gun owner?
<1% Do not know
GUN2. Generally speaking, do you favor or oppose creating more laws that regulate gun ownership? Is that strongly or somewhat [favor/oppose]?
37% Strongly favor
18% Somewhat favor
15% Somewhat oppose
22% Strongly oppose
9% Do not know
ABRT. Do you think that abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?
26% Legal under any circumstances
53% Legal under certain circumstances
15% Illegal in all circumstances
6% Do not know
RACE. Which of the following categories best describes your racial background? Are you ?
INC1. And, just for statistical purposes, we need to know if your total family income is above or below $30,000 per year?
26% Under $30,000
34% $30,000 - $50,000
40% Over $75,000
DONE. Note Gender of the RESPONDENT:
|Who would you vote for|
|Al Gore Democrat||George Bush Republican||Ralph Nader Green Party||Pat Buchanan Reform||DK|
|Row %||Row %||Row %||Row %||Row %|
|Last grade of school||High School or Less||43%||41%||5%||1%||11%|
|Are you Born Again or Fundamentalist||Yes||33%||52%||5%||2%||8%|
|Abortion||Legal under any circumstances||60%||25%||8%||1%||6%|
|Legal under certain cirsumstances||37%||48%||4%||1%||9%|
|Illegal in all circumstances||27%||55%||2%||1%||15%|
|Income above or below||Under $30,000||46%||31%||10%||2%||11%|
|$30 - $50,000||40%||44%||6%||2%||8%|
|55 and over||44%||41%||5%||1%||9%|
|CERTAIN||Not Certain to Vote||38%||42%||6%||1%||13%|
|Certain to Vote||47%||43%||4%||2%||5%|
Center for Opinion Research and Center for Politics & Public Affairs
|Who would you vote for US Senator|
|Ron Klink Democrat||Rick Santorum Republican||DK|
|Row %||Row %||Row %|
|Last grade of school||High School or Less||23%||47%||29%|
|Are you Born Again or Fundamentalist||Yes||20%||60%||21%|
|Abortion||Legal under any circumstances||36%||37%||27%|
|Legal under certain cirsumstances||25%||52%||23%|
|Illegal in all circumstances||21%||59%||20%|
|Income above or below||Under $30,000||27%||41%||32%|
|$30 - $50,000||24%||46%||29%|
|55 and over||29%||49%||22%|
|CERTAIN||Not Certain to Vote||26%||46%||27%|
|Certain to Vote||28%||50%||22%|
Center for Opinion Research and Center for Politics & Public Affairs
|BACK TO SURVEY|