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August 9-15, 2021 Franklin & Marshall College Poll: Summary of Findings

 August 9-15, 2021 Franklin & Marshall College Poll: Topline Report

The August 2021 Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds that concern about COVID-19 is increasing among the state’s registered voters. After declining from one in three (31%) in March to less than one in ten (7%) in June, one in five (17%) voters now say that COVID-19 is the state’s most important problem. Concerns about government and politicians (20%) and the economy (13%), including unemployment and personal finances, are other top concerns.

For the first time in the history of the Poll, a notable portion of voters (4%) mentioned “election integrity” as one of the state’s pressing issues. Pennsylvanians’ pessimism about conditions in the state have stabilized. Only two in five (37%) registered voters believe the state is “headed in the right direction,” essentially unchanged since the March and June Franklin & Marshall College Polls. This is not true of voters’
assessments of the United States, as more registered voters now believe that things in the US are “on the wrong track” (69%) compared to June (62%). There is also no notable improvement in voters’ assessments of their personal finances. Most respondents say they are “better off” (15%) or “about the same” (60%) financially as they were last year, although there has been a decline since June in the proportion who report their finances will be “better” a year from now, falling from 22 percent to 17 percent.

More than three in five (63%) registered voters believe that state redistricting practices need reformed, and two in three (65%) support having an independent commission redraw state legislative districts, a sentiment that crosses party lines: 76 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, and 58 percent of Republicans support the use of an independent commission to draw state legislative districts.

Governor Wolf’s positive job approval ratings are at 41 percent, very similar to the 39 percent he had in June. About two in five (41%) voters in Pennsylvania believe President Biden is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as president, which is a slight decline from his June rating
of 44 percent. The Presidents’ COVID ratings have also declined a bit since June (49% to 44%).

The upcoming US Senate race to replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey has drawn significant interest from politicians in both parties.2 At the moment, John Fetterman is the first or second choice of about one-third (30%) of Democrats, followed by Connor Lamb (14%). The Republican primary field has no clear front-runner at the moment, with Sean Parnell (10%), Kathy Barnette (8%), and Jeff Bartos (7%) each garnering similar shares of Republicans’ first
or second preferences. Two in five (37%) Democrats and two in three (63%) Republicans are undecided about their choice for US Senate.

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