4/13/2023 Peter Durantine

Majorities Oppose Book Bans, Favor Gun Control, Legalized Abortion, F&M Poll Says

For Pennsylvania registered voters, 63% oppose banning books in public school classrooms and school libraries while 31% support book bans, the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll shows.

On the regulation of guns, 59% support (40% strongly, 19% somewhat) more laws to regulate the  ownership of firearms, an increase from April 2022 when 53% (35% strongly, 18% somewhat) said they supported more regulations. 

Nearly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade with Dobbs v. Jackson, 90% of voters want abortion to remain legal; 57% support legalization under certain circumstances and 33% under any circumstances, the poll showed. 

“For a lot of people the notion of abortion was either a key issue that they were trying to change or a kind of theoretical abstraction, ‘well, it’s legal; we don’t have to think about it,’” F&M Poll Director Berwood Yost said. “Dobbs changed that.”

On the “worse off/better off” question, 46% of respondents said they are “worse off” financially than a year ago, an increase from last April when 36% said they were “worse off.”  About 11% said “better off.” 

For the "Is Pennsylvania headed in the right direction or off on the wrong track” questions, 32% said the right direction, an uptick from 29% reported last April. Voter feelings about the wrong track have not changed in the last year, 57%.

About 43% of registered voters believe Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is doing an “excellent” or “good” job, the highest approval rating for a newly elected governor since Gov. Ed Rendell, at 46% in 2003. 

Shapiro’s approval among Democrats is 76%, higher than either Sen. Robert Casey or President Joe Biden, both of whom face re-election next year.    

Among registered voters overall, 29% believe Casey is doing an “excellent” or “good” job and 27% believe the same about Biden. President Biden’s approval rate is lower than Presidents Donald Trump or Barack Obama at this point in their terms.

The F&M Poll, 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 F&M’s Center for Opinion Research between March 27 and April 7, the poll reflects responses from 643 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 287 Democrats, 266 Republicans and 90 independents. The sample error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

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