8/08/2019 Peter Durantine

F&M Poll: Pa. Voters Believe State, Not Nation, Headed in Right Direction

Fifty-one percent of Pennsylvania’s registered voters believe the state is “headed in the right direction,” but only 34 percent believe that of the United States, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll. 

As much as that shows approval of Gov. Tom Wolf’s stewardship of the state, it also shows an increasing opposition from more than half the voters toward President Donald Trump, said F&M Poll Director Terry Madonna. 

“It’s a reflection of voter unhappiness with the president,” Madonna said. “When you get to national politics, you have this deep polarization.” 

The poll also showed the while 38 percent of voters believe Trump deserves re-election, with 78 percent of those respondents saying they will vote for him regardless of who runs against him, 61 percent of voters want change, with 85 percent of those respondents saying they will vote against the president no matter who runs against him.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the top choice for president among registered Democrats, at 28 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 21 percent. However, between liberal and moderate Democrats, liberals prefer Warren at 31 percent and Biden at 13 percent while moderates overwhelmingly prefer Biden at 47 percent, according to the poll.

“It reflects the fact that Warren has slowly and methodically built her campaign on ideas and policies,” said Berwood Yost, co-director and chief methodologist of the poll. “All of her preparation appears to be paying off.” 

While mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, occurred after polling was finished, F&M’s pollsters did ask questions about guns. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they owned guns and 66 percent said they were not gun owners. 

According to the poll, 64 percent of respondents favor more laws to regulate gun ownership. That number has only slightly fluctuated in the last few years of polling, Madonna said. 

“Those numbers show consistency in recent history,” he said.

The F&M Poll was conducted between July 29 and Aug. 4. It, like all surveys, is a snapshot of a specific point in time, not a forecast. All polls have variability; voters change their minds; and events after a survey can sometimes influence voters’ decisions, including whether to vote at all.

Conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at F&M, the poll reflects interviews with 627 Pennsylvania registered voters, including 295 Democrats, 251 Republicans and 81 independents. The sample error is plus or minus 6.0 percentage points.

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