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September F&M Pennsylvania Poll: Key Findings

Sep 25, 2020
Franklin & Marshall College

Complete Results:

  • The September 2020 Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds that only two in five (40%) of the state’s registered voters believe the state is “headed in the right direction,” which continues a steady decline in optimism about the direction of the state over the past year. Registered voters list COVID-19 (25%) as the most important problem facing the state today, but concerns about the economy and personal finances continue to increase, rising from 12% in July to 25% today.
  • Nearly three-quarters (71%) of the state’s registered voters say they are “very interested” in the 2020 elections, about the same level of interest as last month (72%). This level of interest is similar to the interest expressed by registered voters in September, 2016. More voters expect to cast their ballot in person (60%) than by mail (34%) in 2020, but there are partisan differences in these expectations. Most (58%) of the state’s registered voters favor the use of mail-in ballots, although many more Democrats (86%) and independents (62%) than Republicans (24%) favor mail-in voting. Most registered voters are confident that the state’s tabulated vote count will be accurate if mail-in voting is widely used (59%), but only one in three (32%) Republicans are confident those counts will be accurate, compared to most Democrats (83%) and Independents (51%).
  • About two in five (39%) registered voters in Pennsylvania believe President Trump is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as president, which is consistent with his ratings in recent polls. A majority of Republicans (80%) rate the President’s performance positively, while fewer Democrats (5%) or independents (35%) do so. Registered voters in the state continue to give President Trump the advantage over Mr. Biden on his ability handle economic matters, but Mr. Biden holds an advantage over the President on the other characteristics tested, most notably on issues in dealing with the coronavirus and on personal attributes such as character and honesty. Democrat Joe Biden currently leads President Trump among likely voters, 48% to 42%.

The Franklin & Marshall College Poll is produced in conjunction with the Philadelphia Daily News, WGAL- TV (South Central PA), Pittsburgh Tribune Review, WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh), WPVI-TV6/ABC (Philadelphia), Times-Shamrock Newspapers, Harrisburg Patriot-News/PennLive, LNP media group, WITF, the Reading Eagle and Pennsylvania Capital-Star. It may be used in whole or in part, provided any use is attributed to the college.

This survey reflects interviews with 625 Pennsylvania registered voters, including 296 Democrats, 250 Republicans and 79 Independents conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College from September 14-20, 2020. The sample error for this survey is +/- 6.5 percentage points. A complete methodological statement can be found in the full report.

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