Today’s newsletter contains information from the May 2022 Franklin and Marshall College Poll, conducted April 20 - May 1 among a sample of 792 registered Pennsylvania voters. The survey asked about a wide range of topics, including voters’ feelings about how elections are conducted in Pennsylvania, term limits for members of the state house and senate, and the upcoming primary election. 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.
Berwood Yost, Director
The May 2022 Franklin and Marshall College Poll finds little change in the mood of Pennsylvania’s registered voters since our March and April Polls, 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 (27%) and a third of independents (36%) 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 (25%) registered voters believes the state is “headed in the right direction.” Four in five (81%) 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 (24%), including unemployment, personal finances, and gas prices, remain the most mentioned problems facing Pennsylvania, as was true in March and April.
The state’s registered voters are significantly more dissatisfied with the state’s electoral procedures than they were prior to the 2020 Presidential election. More than half (52%) of respondents report they are dissatisfied with the way elections are conducted in the state, double the proportion (24%) who were dissatisfied with those procedures in August 2020. Most registered voters support having open (64%) and top-two primaries (54%), which is similar to the support these ideas had in August 2020. A majority (54%) opposes eliminating the use of voter drop boxes, with strong differences between partisans.
With two weeks remaining until Pennsylvania’s primary election day, there is little clarity about which candidates have an advantage in the Republican primary races, but the Democratic US Senate primary is somewhat clearer. In every primary race there is a sizable pool of undecided voters, and many voters who have a preference but might yet change their minds, that make it difficult to suggest who may win.
John Fetterman has increased his advantage in the Democratic US Senate primary since April--Fetterman now leads Conor Lamb, 53% to 14%, with one in four (22%) still undecided about their preference. Half (51%) of those who have a preference report they could change their mind about their choice. John Fetterman is much better known among Democratic voters than is Conor Lamb; one in five (21%) Democrats say they don’t know enough to have an opinion about Fettermam compared to 39% who say they don’t know enough to have an opinion about Lamb. Fetterman’s favorability (67%) ratings are also stronger than Lamb’s favorability (46%) ratings. Both candidates improved their name recognition and favorability ratings among Democrats since our April survey.
The Republican senate primary field has no clear front-runner at the moment, with Mehmet Oz (18%) and David McCormick (16%) each garnering similar shares of Republican support, with Kathy Barnette third (12%). Two in five (39%) voters say they are not sure who they will vote for in the senate race and three in five (57%) of those who have chosen a candidate say they could still change their minds. Favorability ratings of Mehmet Oz remain negative among Republican voters, with more having an unfavorable (41%) than favorable (29%) opinion of the candidate. Oz (19%) and Barnette (18%) are running neck and neck among the Trump faction of Republican voters, while McCormick (28%) has an advantage among the traditional faction.
Like the Republican senate race, the Republican governor’s race also remains wide open. Doug Mastriano (20%) has a slight advantage over Bill McSwain (12%), Lou Barletta (11%), and Dave White (8%), with one-third (34%) of Republicans still undecided. Even among those who have chosen a candidate, more than half (53%) say they are still deciding about their vote choice. The Republican gubernatorial candidates are relatively unknown among registered Republicans, with about half of respondents reporting they don’t know enough about White (59%), McSwain (54%), Mastriano (51%), or Barletta (47%) to have an opinion. Mastriano (33%) has an advantage among Republicans who identify with the Trump faction of the party, while McSwain (21%) and White (15%) have an advantage among Traditional Republicans.
The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted April 20 – May 1, 2022. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall. The data included in this release represent the responses of 792 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 357 Democrats, 325 Republicans, and 110 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 +/- 4.4 percentage points when the design effects from weighting are considered. [iii] 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.
Franklin & Marshall College Poll - The 2022 Primary Elections: Political Catnip
Franklin & Marshall College Poll: Primary Polling in 2022
Franklin & Marshall College Poll: Party Identification Shifted to Republicans in 2021
PARTY FACTIONS AMONG THE VOTERS
Stephen K. Medvic and Berwood A. Yost
Prepared for delivery at the 2021 State of the Parties: 2020 and Beyond Virtual Conference, November 4 – 5, 2021. The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, The University of Akron
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: 46% identify as Republican (n=349), 9% as Independent (n=67), and 42% as Democrat (n=317) 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] The sample error for questions asked only of registered Republicans is +/- 6.8 percentage points and for questions asked only of registered Democrats the sample error is +/- 6.5 percentage points.
Franklin & Marshall College Poll Newsletter
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