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Franklin & Marshall Poll Release: August 2022

Issue #24 • View online
Franklin & Marshall College Poll
Dear Subscribers,
Today’s newsletter contains information from the August 2022 Franklin and Marshall College Poll, conducted August 15-21 among a sample of 522 registered Pennsylvania voters. The survey asked about a wide range of topics, including voters’ feelings about how elections are conducted in Pennsylvania, the January 6th Committee hearings, amending the state constitution, as well as the upcoming Senate and Gubernatorial races. You can see the full set of questions asked as well as the overall responses to each question in the attached Topline Summary. I’ve highlighted a few of the notable findings in today’s newsletter and you can find many more details in our Summary of Findings.
Sincerely,
Berwood Yost, Director

Key Findings
The August 2022 Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds little change in the mood of Pennsylvania’s registered voters since our May Poll, with economic concerns remaining high and voters continuing to feel deeply frustrated and mostly dissatisfied with President Biden’s performance. More than two in five (43%) respondents say they are “worse off” financially than a year ago. Many Republicans and conservatives say they are “worse off” than last year, but a quarter of Democrats (24%) and almost half of independents (47%) also say they are “worse off” financially. Pennsylvania voters remain pessimistic about conditions in the state and the nation as well: only one in four (27%) registered voters believes the state is “headed in the right direction.” Concerns about the economy (27%), including unemployment, personal finances, and gas prices, remain the most important problems facing Pennsylvania according to voters.
Support for abortion rights in Pennsylvania appears to have increased somewhat since May. Nearly nine in ten registered Pennsylvania voters believes abortion should be legal under certain circumstances (52%) or under any circumstance (37%). Nearly three in five (59%) registered voters oppose amending the state constitution to say there is no constitutional right to abortion in the state.
About one in three (34%) registered voters in Pennsylvania believes President Biden is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as president, which is unchanged since May. Republicans continue to lead in the generic ballot in Pennsylvania, 44% to 42%.
More than two in five (43%) of the state’s registered voters say they have not watched any of the January 6th Committee hearings, including three in five (62%) Republicans and half (56%) of independents. Though voters are divided on the purpose of the Committee hearings, most (87%) believe that the actions of protesters who entered the Capitol on January 6th were not justified, and most (81%) believe these individuals should face criminal charges. 
Democrat Josh Shapiro currently holds an advantage over Republican Doug Mastriano in the 2022 race for Pennsylvania Governor, 44% to 33%. Shapiro receives a larger share of Democrats (76%) than Mastriano receives among Republicans (66%), and Shapiro also leads among independent voters 40% to 24%. Shapiro is viewed more favorably (44%) than unfavorably (32%) by the state’s voters, while Mastriano tends to be viewed more unfavorably (49%) than favorably (28%). More voters believe Shapiro best understands the concerns of Pennsylvanians (47% to 33%) and is closest to their views on social issues (45% to 32%), but the two candidates are relatively close when it comes to being viewed as having policies that will improve voters’ economic circumstances (36% to 33%).
Democrat John Fetterman currently holds an advantage over Republican Mehmet Oz in the 2022 race for Pennsylvania US Senator, 43% to 30%, although the race is a bit closer when those who are leaning toward a candidate are included (45% to 36%, Fetterman). Fetterman receives a larger share of Democrats (76%) than Oz receives among Republicans (62%), and he also leads among independent voters 34% to 17%. Fetterman is viewed more favorably (43%) than unfavorably (36%) by the state’s voters, while Oz tends to be viewed more unfavorably (57%) than favorably (27%). More voters believe Fetterman best understands the concerns of Pennsylvanians (52% to 28%) and is closest to their views on social issues (46% to 32%), but the two candidates are relatively close when it comes to being viewed as having policies that will improve voters’ economic circumstances (37% to 33%).
Methodology
The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted August 15-21, 2022. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall. The data included in this release represent the responses of 522 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 234 Democrats, 214 Republicans, and 74 independents.[i] The sample of voters was obtained from Marketing Systems Group. All sampled respondents were notified by mail about the survey. Interviews were completed over the phone and online depending on each respondent’s preference. Survey results were weighted (age, gender, education, geography, and party registration) using an iterative weighting algorithm to reflect the known distribution of those characteristics. Estimates for age, geography, and party registration are based on active voters within the PA Department of State’s voter registration data. Gender and education is estimated using data from the November 2018 CPS Voter Registration Supplement. [ii]
The sample error for this survey is +/- 5.3 percentage points when the design effects from weighting are considered. In addition to sampling error, this poll is also subject to other sources of non-sampling error. Generally speaking, two sources of error concern researchers most. Non-response bias is created when selected participants either choose not to participate in the survey or are unavailable for interviewing. Response errors are the product of the question and answer process. Surveys that rely on self-reported behaviors and attitudes are susceptible to biases related to the way respondents process and respond to survey questions.
Further Reading
References & Resources
[i] The data reported here is voter REGISTRATION and is consistent with past reporting practices. The survey also asked about self-reported voter IDENTIFICATION, which shows a slightly different partisan split: 45% identify as Republican (n=229), 10% as Independent (n=52), and 42% as Democrat (n=212) and the balance not offering a response. Partisan comparisons in this summary show self-reported registration.
[ii] Data downloaded from IPUMS-CPS, University of Minnesota, www.ipums.org, accessed 12/31/2021
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