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Poll Finds Obama Leading Challengers Despite Middling Support

  • The Pennsylvania state flag
  • The Pennsylvania state flag

Despite President Barack Obama’s tepid approval ratings, the president continues to lead his main Republican challengers in Pennsylvania, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Obama has seen a minor improvement in his job-performance ratings compared to the October poll, rising from 37 percent positive to 40 percent positive. However, more voters in Pennsylvania still believe it is time for a change (49 percent) than believe the president deserves re-election (44 percent).

Still, Obama leads in matchups with potential Republican opponents, including Mitt Romney (41 percent to 30 percent) and Rick Santorum (43 percent to 30 percent). Nearly half (45 percent) of voters have a “favorable” opinion of the president compared to around one-quarter of voters who have a favorable opinion of Mitt Romney (25 percent) and Rick Santorum (29 percent).

In other findings:

  • Most (47 percent) of the state’s voters believe Pennsylvania is headed in the wrong direction, a sentiment little changed during the past two years. The last time a majority of the state’s registered voters believed the state was headed in the right direction was September 2006.
  • More voters report they are worse off financially than are better off financially (26 percent and 15 percent, respectively) compared to one year ago, although most (60 percent) say their finances are the same as last year. Fewer voters expect to be worse off financially next year (13 percent) than they were last March (26 percent), the last time this question was asked. Most (51 percent) respondents report economic and financial issues are their most pressing personal problems.

The interviews were conducted Jan. 17-22 at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College and were overseen by Director G. Terry Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost and Senior Project Manager Angela Knittle. The data released Jan. 26 represent responses of 614 registered voters in Pennsylvania, including 314 Democrats, 227 Republicans and 73 registered as independent/other.

The sample error for the survey is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. The sample error is slightly higher for registered Democrats (plus or minus 5.5 percentage points) and Republicans (plus or minus 6.5 percentage points).

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