9/27/2018 Peter Durantine

F&M Poll: At Least in Pennsylvania, It Looks Like a ‘Blue Wave’

As the Nov. 6 general election moves closer on the calendar, it appears a ‘Blue Wave’ is rising in Pennsylvania with more registered voters preferring the Democratic candidate over the Republican (51 to 36 percent) for the U.S. House, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Among likely voters, the percentages are 49 to 38 in favor of the Democrat over the Republican.

“One thing we’re seeing is stark differences in performance when we compare the counties where Donald Trump won to the counties where Hillary Clinton won.  The leads for Democrats in Clinton counties are much larger than the leads for Republicans in Trump counties.  The differences are large and could indicate a real gap in voter motivation,” said Berwood Yost, the poll’s chief methodologist and co-director.

According to the poll, President Trump is an essential motivating force in the upcoming congressional midterm elections.

Seventy-four percent of those who plan to vote for a Democratic congressional candidate say they are casting their ballot mainly as a vote against Trump and the Republicans in Congress. Eighty percent who plan to vote for a Republican candidate are casting their ballot mainly as a vote to support the president and the Republicans in Congress.

Two Democratic incumbents, Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, maintain double-digit leads over their Republican challengers; 52 percent support Wolf and 30 percent Republican Scott Wagner, and 50 percent support Casey and 33 percent for GOP challenger Lou Barletta. 

“Both Casey and Wolf are benefiting from the ‘Blue Wave,’” said F&M Poll Director Terry Madonna. “That’s crucial in the energy level of voters turning out for them.”

The Poll was conducted Sept. 17-23.

Trump’s approval rating by Pennsylvania voters is 37 percent who believe he has done an “excellent” or “good” job, 6 points higher than Democratic President Barack Obama in the congressional midterm election of his second term.  

The poll reported that 60 percent of the state’s registered voters, 54 percent, are “very interested” in the midterm elections. More Democrats (64 percent) than Republicans (58 percent) or independents (49 percent) say they are “very interested” in voting this fall. 

The president received his lowest ratings for improving the health care system (18 percent), deal with climate change (18 percent), and improving public education (19). 

“These specific ratings – his lowest on the issues – have remained remarkably stable, as is true of his overall approval ratings,” Yost said.

Conducted by the Center for Opinion Researchat F&M, the poll reflects interviews with 545 Pennsylvania registered voters, including 256 Democrats, 213 Republicans and 76 independents. The sample error is plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.

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