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Franklin & Marshall Poll Release: September 2022

Issue #26 • View online
Franklin & Marshall College Poll
Dear Subscribers,
Today’s newsletter contains information from the September 2022 Franklin and Marshall College Poll, conducted September 19-25, 2022 among a sample of 517 registered Pennsylvania voters. The survey asked about a wide range of topics, including the direction of the state of Pennsylvania, the upcoming Senate and Gubernatorial races, and presidential job performance. 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 September 2022 Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds that Pennsylvania’s registered voters are restive, with economic concerns remaining high and voters continuing to feel deeply frustrated and mostly dissatisfied with President Biden’s performance. Concerns about the economy (27%), including unemployment, personal finances, and gas prices, remain the most important problems facing Pennsylvania according to voters. Pennsylvania voters remain pessimistic about conditions in the state and the nation. Only one in four (28%) registered voters believes the state is “headed in the right direction.” Three in four (75%) Pennsylvania voters believe that things in the US are “on the wrong track.” Republicans continue to lead in the generic ballot in Pennsylvania, 43% to 39%. Voter interest in the 2022 mid-term races is similar to the levels expressed by Pennsylvania’s registered voters during the 2018 mid-terms.
Democrat Josh Shapiro currently holds an advantage over Republican Doug Mastriano in the 2022 race for Pennsylvania Governor, 51% to 37%, when voters who lean toward a candidate are included, although the race is marginally closer among likely voters (52% to 42%). Shapiro receives a larger share of Democrats (83%) than Mastriano receives among Republicans (69%), and Shapiro also leads among independent voters 54% to 35%. The dynamics of the governor’s race have changed little since August: Shapiro held a 48% to 36% lead in late August and voters’ feelings toward the candidates, as measured by how favorably each is viewed, have changed little. Shapiro is viewed more favorably (45%) than unfavorably (33%) by the state’s voters, while Mastriano tends to be viewed more unfavorably (52%) than favorably (27%).
Democrat John Fetterman currently holds a narrow advantage over Republican Mehmet Oz in the 2022 race for Pennsylvania US Senator, 45% to 42%, when voters who lean toward a candidate are included. The race is substantially closer than it was in our August survey (45% to 36%, Fetterman). Oz has improved his standing significantly among Republicans since August. The changing views of voters toward the candidates are also apparent in their favorability ratings. Both Fetterman (40% favorable and 46% unfavorable) and Oz (34% favorable and 53% unfavorable) are viewed more unfavorably than favorably by the state’s voters, with one in ten (10%) voters holding an unfavorable opinion of both candidates. More voters believe Fetterman best understands the concerns of Pennsylvanians (51% to 29%) and is closest to their views on social issues (44% to 33%), but Oz now has an advantage in being viewed as having policies that will improve voters’ economic circumstances (39% to 32%, Oz). Four in five (77%) voters are aware of Fetterman’s health problems, while fewer are aware of Oz’s recent move to the state (60%).
President Biden’s current rating is lower than President Trump’s and President Obama’s ratings in Pennsylvania at the same point in their terms. In addition to assessing President Biden’s overall approval ratings, voters were also asked to rate how his administration is performing within specific policy areas. President Biden’s administration received its highest relative ratings for managing coronavirus and infrastructure improvements, and has poor ratings for dealing with immigration issues. In September of 2018, President Trump’s administration was perceived as doing best at creating new jobs and dealing with terrorism, while receiving its lowest ratings for improving the healthcare system and dealing with climate change.
Methodology
The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted September 19 - 25, 2022. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall. The data included in this release represent the responses of 517 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 235 Democrats, 210 Republicans, and 72 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, vote history, 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 +/- 5.6 percentage points when the design effects from weighting are considered. An alternative means of calculating the variation in a sample is to take a series of bootstrap samples from the original sample and to use those bootstrapped samples to produce an estimate of sampling error.[iii] The procedure involves resampling a data set, calculating a statistic for each bootstrapped sample, accumulating the results of these samples and calculating a sample distribution. The standard deviation of the mean of 10,000 bootstrapped samples for the estimated positive job approval for President Biden was 2.0% and 95% of the samples fell within a range of 25% and 33%.
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: 48% identify as Republican (n=236), 8% as Independent (n=39), and 41% as Democrat (n=202) 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
[iii] Canty, Angelo. 2002. “Resampling Methods in R: The boot Package.” R News 2/3 (December): 2-7
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