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Latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll Finds Romney Closing Gap with Obama in Pa.

  • The Pennsylvania state flag
  • The Pennsylvania state flag

President Barack Obama's lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney has decreased among Pennsylvania voters during the past month, according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll released Oct. 31.

Obama, who has led Romney in every Franklin & Marshall College Poll since August 2011, currently leads the former Massachusetts governor 49 percent to 45 percent among likely voters in Pennsylvania, with 4 percent undecided. The president leads by the same margin among registered voters (48 percent to 44 percent), with 5 percent undecided.

Obama led Romney by a wider margin among both likely voters (52 percent to 43 percent) and registered voters (50 percent to 39 percent) in a September Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

In a shift from the September poll, respondents in the current survey believe Romney is "most prepared to fix our economic problems" (47 percent to 42 percent). Obama led on the same question a month ago, 47 percent to 43 percent. A higher percentage of voters view Romney favorably (43 percent) than they did in September (34 percent), while Obama's favorability rating has remained steady since last month (50 percent).

"Romney is now more popular with voters than he was in September, and he leads the president on the important question on who can best fix the economy," said Franklin & Marshall College Poll Director G. Terry Madonna. "The first debate was an important factor in this shift in attitudes."

Respondents in the current poll said Obama is "most prepared to handle foreign-policy issues" (56 percent to 37 percent); "best understands the concerns of ordinary Americans" (54 percent to 39 percent); will "better handle the job of commander-in-chief of the military" (51 percent to 42 percent); and is "closest to [respondents'] views on value issues, such as abortion and gay marriage" (47 percent to 40 percent).

In other findings:

  • Incumbent Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. has a comfortable advantage over Republican challenger Tom Smith (46 percent to 35 percent), with one in seven voters undecided (14 percent).
  • Obama's job-performance rating is more negative (53 percent) than positive (46 percent).
  • Voters are less interested in the election this year than in 2008, with 67 percent reporting they are "very interested" compared to 73 percent who were "very interested" four years ago.

Interviews for the poll were conducted Oct. 23-28 at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College and were overseen by Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost and Senior Project Manager Angela Knittle. The oldest statewide poll exclusively and directly produced in Pennsylvania, the Franklin & Marshall College Poll is produced in conjunction with regional media partners.

The data represent responses of 849 registered voters in Pennsylvania, including 427 Democrats, 317 Republicans and 105 registered as Independent/Other. The sample error for the survey is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

For complete results, visit www.fandm.edu/fandmpoll.