Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Center for Politics & Public Affairs

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About the Franklin & Marshall College Poll

The Franklin & Marshall College Poll (formerly the Keystone Poll) is the longest running Pennsylvania statewide poll exclusively directed and produced in the state. The poll traces its origins to the 1991 U.S. Senate race between former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh and U.S. Senator Harris Wofford. In that race, the poll identified the competitiveness of the campaign and the topics that subsequently became key issues in the 1992 presidential election. The poll officially became the Keystone Poll in 1992, when it was created by G. Terry Madonna, who became the director of the poll, and Berwood Yost, who became its head methodologist.  Madonna and Yost have collaborated on more than 100 polls since establishing the partnership. In 2003 the poll was moved to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Madonna heads the Center for Politics and Public Affairs and Yost heads the Center for Opinion Research at F&M.

Since 1992, the poll has served as an important tool for teaching survey methodology and research design in government classes. In addition, thousands of students have been trained in proper interviewing techniques as part of a relationship established between the Government Department and the Centers for Opinion Research and Politics and Public Affairs at Millersville University, and after 2003, at Franklin & Marshall College. The survey results - including candidate match ups, party identification and partisanship levels, candidate demographics, issue research, the social and economic characteristic of voters, just to mention a few aspects - have been used by undergraduate and graduate students, scholars in universities and think tanks, and the polling  data have been used extensively by the media. The poll results, for example, have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and scores of other newspapers and news magazines, scholarly publications, as well on the television networks and cable news. Additionally, surveys have been conducted in Pennsylvania's congressional districts, state legislative districts, and municipalities, including every Philadelphia mayoral election since 1995.

The poll has been distributed to a public audience since 1992 by numerous media partners - first by the Philadelphia Daily News and in 1994 by KYW-TV, Philadelphia. As the demand for the poll grew, the Harrisburg Patriot News was added, and Fox 29 (Philadelphia) replaced KYW, and then the Pittsburgh Tribune Review joined the statewide distribution network. CN8, the Comcast Network, also became a polling partner in 2002, replacing Fox News. As of 2008, the Philadelphia TV partner is WPVI-ABC6. The central Pennsylvania media partner is WGAL-TV and the western Pennsylvania partner is WTAE-TV. The Time Shamrock-Newspapers joined the Daily News and the Tribune Review as subscribers during the 2008 election cycle.

In 2008, the poll was expanded to include national surveys produced in conjunction with Hearst-Argyle, a company that owns or manages 29 televisions stations. The national poll examined the opinions of voters during the 2008 presidential election. Also in 2008, the name of the poll was officially changed to the Franklin & Marshall College Poll. Past polls can be found at http://politics.fandm.edu.