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F&M Poll: Obama Leads Romney by 12 Percentage Points in Race for President

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  • The Pennsylvania state flag
  • The Pennsylvania state flag

Five months from Election Day, President Barack Obama holds a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the race for the White House, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Obama leads by 12 percentage points, 48 percent to 36 percent, with 12 percent of respondents still undecided. The remaining 4 percent answered, “don’t know” in response to a question about the candidate for whom they intend to vote. Obama leads Romney in most areas of the state, with the exception of central and northwestern Pennsylvania, according to the poll.

Respondents said Obama is more prepared than Romney to handle foreign policy issues (57 percent to 29 percent), has a better understanding of the concerns of “ordinary Americans” (57 percent to 31 percent) and is better prepared to fix the economy (44 percent to 38 percent).

The poll also included questions about the state’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Nearly half of those polled are in favor of a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to balance Pennsylvania’s budget (47 percent), compared to those who solely advocate cuts (22 percent) or tax increases (10 percent).

Respondents also were asked to rate their support for a variety of ways to balance the budget. Among the findings:

  • 79 percent support new taxes on the sale of smokeless tobacco and cigars
  • 73 percent favor taxing companies that extract or sell natural gas
  • 62 percent support reducing the number of state employees
  • 60 percent back selling the state-owned liquor stores to private interests
  • 51 percent favor expanding the sales tax to new items

Interviews for the poll were conducted May 29-June 4 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 June 6 represent responses of 412 voters registered in Pennsylvania. The sample error for the survey is plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.

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