Latest F&M Poll Shows Obama Leading Romney in Tightening Presidential Race

  • The Pennsylvania state flag The Pennsylvania state flag

President Barack Obama continues to lead Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania as voter interest in the presidential race increases, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Obama, who has led Romney in every Franklin & Marshall College Poll since August 2011, currently leads the former Massachusetts governor 44 percent to 38 percent among registered voters in Pennsylvania, with 15 percent undecided. The six-point margin represents a smaller advantage for the president than his 12-point lead in a June Franklin & Marshall College Poll. Including undecided voters who “lean” toward a candidate, Obama leads Romney by a similar margin (47 percent to 42 percent), with 7 percent undecided.

In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. has a comfortable advantage over Republican challenger Tom Smith (35 percent to 23 percent), with two in five voters undecided (39 percent). Casey’s lead increases when voters leaning toward a candidate are included (43 percent to 28 percent). Smith is unrecognized by 68 percent of the state’s voters.

In other findings:

  • Compared to Romney, Obama “best understands the concerns of ordinary Americans” (57 percent to 30 percent); is “most prepared to handle foreign-policy issues” (53 percent to 34 percent); is “better able to handle the job as military chief” (47 percent to 37 percent); and is “closest to [respondents’] views on value issues, such abortion and gay marriage” (44 percent to 42 percent). Romney leads Obama as the candidate “most prepared to fix our economic problems” (44 percent to 42 percent), a change from Obama’s six-point lead on the similar question in the June poll.
  • Obama's job performance remains more negative than positive, with 43 percent positive (“good” or “excellent” job) and 56 percent negative (“fair” or “poor” job).
  • Pennsylvania voters favor repealing the heath-care law, with 48 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” favoring repeal and 42 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” opposing repeal of the law.

Interviews for the poll were conducted Aug. 7-12 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 oldest statewide poll exclusively and directly produced in Pennsylvania, the Franklin & Marshall College Poll is produced in conjunction with regional media partners.

The data released Aug. 16 represent responses of 681 registered voters in Pennsylvania, including 343 Democrats, 254 Republicans and 84 registered as Independent/Other. The sample error for the survey is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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

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