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Franklin & Marshall Poll Release: March 2022

Issue #18 • View online
Franklin & Marshall College Poll
Dear Subscribers,
Today’s newsletter contains information from the March 2022 Franklin and Marshall Collage Poll, conducted February 21-27 among a sample of 490 registered Pennsylvania voters. The survey asked about a wide range of topics, including voters’ general feelings about the direction of the state and economy, privatization of state-owned liquor stores, amending the state constitution and job approval ratings for President Biden and Governor Wolf. 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 March 2022 Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds economic concerns increasing among the state’s registered voters, which is leaving voters deeply frustrated and mostly dissatisfied with President Biden’s performance. More than one in three (35%) respondents say they are “worse off” financially than a year ago, which is the largest proportion in the last five years. A majority of Republicans and conservatives say they are “worse off” than last year, but a quarter of Democrats (22%) and independents (29%) also say they are worse off financially. Given the concerns about their personal finances, it is unsurprising that Pennsylvania voters’ remain pessimistic about conditions in the state and the nation. Only one in three (32%) registered voters believes the state is “headed in the right direction.” Three in four (77%) voters who say they are “worse off” financially this year than last also say the state is “on the wrong track.”
Concerns about the economy (21%), including unemployment and personal finances, are increasing as concerns about COVID-19 are receding. Concerns about government and politicians (19%) in the state remain high, with that sentiment being driven by divisiveness and an inability to address the state’s major issues.  
A majority (52%) of the state’s registered voters supports selling the state-owned liquor stores, with most Republicans (65%) and independents (55%) supporting this idea. Support for selling the state stores has been relatively consistent for the past decade.
A majority (55%) of the state’s registered voters favor using voter approved constitutional amendments to change the state’s constitution when the legislature and governor cannot agree on a policy change. 
The state house approved a bill during 2021 that would have ended the state requirement to have a license to carry a concealed weapon. Only one in four (25%) registered voters favors eliminating the state’s concealed carry licensing requirement, with a large majority (56%) strongly opposed to the idea.
About one in three (30%) registered voters in Pennsylvania believes President Biden is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as president. Ratings of the president’s performance within specific policy areas shows his strongest performance related to handling COVID and infrastructure improvements, while his weakest ratings relate to immigration and dealing with inflation. 
Electoral Context
Voters in Pennsylvania seem deeply frustrated, particularly about economic issues, and are mostly dissatisfied with the job President Biden is doing as president. These judgments will play an important role in Pennsylvanian’s voting behaviors in the 2022 mid-term elections and they suggest the electoral current is running pretty strongly in favor of the Republican Party at the moment. Right now, more of the state’s registered voters say they will support a Republican candidate for Congress, 42% Republican versus 38% Democrat.
John Fetterman remains the first choice of about one-quarter (28%) of Democrats in the US Senate Primary, followed by Connor Lamb (15%).
The Republican primary field has no clear front-runner at the moment, with David McCormick (13%), Carla Sands (11%), and Mehmet Oz (10%) each garnering similar shares of Republican support. 
Two in five (44%) Democrats and one in two (53%) Republicans are undecided about their choice for US Senate.
Methodology
The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted February 21 - 27, 2022. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall. The data included in this release represent the responses of 490 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 223 Democrats, 200 Republicans, and 67 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 +/- 6.1 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.
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: 50% identify as Republican (n=230), 6% as Independent (n=29), and 40% as Democrat (n=183) 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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