In his third month in office, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has support from a majority of voters for his proposed budget and income tax increases, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.
The poll showed that 59 percent of voters support the governor's budget plan to increase funding for basic education by $400 million. Those same voters also support an increase in the state's sales and personal income taxes, and the creation of a Marcellus Shale extraction tax to reduce property taxes and increase funding for schools.
Twenty-seven percent of voters said their top priority for the state government is allocating additional funds to public education. Twenty-five percent said they most wanted to see local property tax reform.
"The property tax is the most hated tax in the state," said the poll's director, G. Terry Madonna of F&M's Center for Politics and Public Affairs.
Wolf is viewed more favorably (40 percent) than unfavorably (27 percent) by registered voters, while more voters (39 percent) believe the state is headed in the right direction than at any time since January 2010, according to the poll. Forty-seven percent, however, feel Pennsylvania is "off on the wrong track." Regarding the first-term governor's job performance, 38 percent of voters said they believe Wolf is doing an "excellent" or "good" job.
Providing an early glimpse at the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, the poll showed Republican Sen. Pat Toomey leading Democratic challenger Joe Sestak, who launched his candidacy this month, by a five-point margin (34 percent to 29 percent), while 37 percent are still undecided about the race.
- 66 percent support increasing the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour
- 49 percent support selling the state's wine and liquor stores to private interests, while 37 percent oppose privatization
- 35 percent said President Barack Obama is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, in line with recent surveys
The poll reflects interviews with 597 registered voters conducted March 17-23. The sample error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
The 24-year-old Franklin & Marshall College Poll is conducted under the direction of Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost, director of the Floyd Institute's Center for Opinion Research, and Project Manager Jacqueline Redman. It is produced in conjunction with the Philadelphia Daily News, WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, WPVI-TV6/ABC Philadelphia, Times-Shamrock Newspapers, Harrisburg Patriot-News/Penn Live, Lancaster Newspapers and the Reading Eagle.