The latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll has the answers ... and the news is bleak for Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Among the poll highlights:
1) Pennsylvanians continue to express pessimism about the economy. Four in ten (40% compared to 36% in October) say they are financially worse off this year than last, and only a quarter (27%) expects their personal finances to be better off a year from now.Complete results can be found at http://politics.fandm.edu
2) Among registered Democrats, Senator Specter leads Joe Sestak (30% to 13%) in the primary race for U.S. Senate, although 50 percent remain undecided. In possible general election match-ups, Pat Toomey leads both Specter (45% to 31%) and Sestak (41% to 19%) among likely voters. Registered Pennsylvanians cite health care (29%) and the economy (24%) as the most important issues in their vote for U.S. Senate.
3) Nearly three in four (72%) Pennsylvania Democrats remain undecided about the primary race for governor. Tom Corbett leads Sam Rohrer (23% to 5%) among Republicans for the gubernatorial nomination, but seven in ten (69%) remain undecided about their preference. Registered Pennsylvanians cite the economy (26%) and taxes (13%) as the most important issues in their vote for governor.
4) Favorability ratings for President Obama have changed slightly since October. His unfavorable rating increased by 5 percentage points, and he is now viewed favorably and unfavorably by equal proportions (44%) of registered Pennsylvanians. Senator Specter's favorability rating has risen slightly to 35 percent (compared to 28% in October), and his unfavorable rating stands at 43 percent (compared to 46% in October).
5) President Obama's job approval in Pennsylvania is the lowest of his presidency, with only 38 percent (compared to 40% in October) saying he is doing an excellent or good job. Senator Specter's job approval has risen slightly to 34 percent (compared to 29% in October), and about three in ten (29%) respondents say he deserves re-election (up from 23% in October). Those who say Specter does not deserve re-election cite his length of service (25%) and party switch (21%) as the main reasons.
6) Pennsylvanians continue to express dissatisfaction with the direction of the state, albeit less so than in October. 53 percent now say the state is off on the wrong track (compared to 60% in October), while 39 percent say the state is headed in the right direction (compared to 32% in October). Nearly eight in ten (78%) registered Pennsylvanians feel state government needs reform, and a similar number (72%) would favor a constitutional convention to review the state's constitution.
7) The job approval rating of the state legislature remains very low with only 16 percent of registered Pennsylvanians indicating it’s doing an excellent or good job, while 74 percent indicate it's doing only a fair or poor job. These figures have changed little since October.