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Budget Impasse Taxing Patience of Pa. Voters

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Pennsylvania’s inability to pass a budget for fiscal 2010 has had a profound effect on the favorability and job-performance ratings of the state’s leaders, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Only one out of three Pennsylvanians believes the state is “headed in the right direction,” and just 29 percent of registered voters say Gov. Ed Rendell (D) is doing an “excellent” or “good” job. Meanwhile, 78 percent of registered voters rank the Legislature’s performance as either “fair” or “poor.” The state has been operating without a budget since the fiscal year began on July 1.

In other findings:

  • U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter maintained his edge over U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak for the 2010 Democratic Senate primary, 37 percent to 11 percent. The wild card in that race is that nearly half of registered Democrats (46 percent) are undecided.
  • While the majority of registered Pennsylvanians (55 percent) rate Democratic President Barack Obama favorably, 37 percent now rate him unfavorably, up from 27 percent in June.
  • Registered voters are closely watching the national debate on health care. Sixty-four percent say they have heard a “great deal” or a “fair amount” about possible Congressional reforms, and 80 percent say they have seen or heard news reports about town hall meetings. Just over half (51 percent) say they oppose reform proposals that have been discussed so far in Congress, and nearly half (48 percent) say they do not believe reforming health care will help the economy in the long run.

The data represent the responses of 643 randomly selected adult Pennsylvanians, including 562 registered voters. The sample error for the full survey group is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, while the sample error for registered voters is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. For complete results, go to http://www.fandm.edu/fandmpoll.