Mercyhurst Poll: Bad Marks for Obama & GOP; Generic Dem Beats Corbett

Obama portrait loresA new independent poll found sour attitudes among Pennsylvania residents about the economy and political leadership in Harrisburg and Washington, DC.

The Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics at Mercyhurst University surveyed 579 adults from Sept. 19 to Oct. 3. with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

80% of respondents said the nation’s economy is doing poorly, or not so good. 18% said it was doing well; 0% said excellent. 75% said they know someone personally who struggles to meet their basic needs.

Both parties get a share of the blame. 46% of respondents said President Obama has made the economy worse versus 37% who said he’s made it better. 12% said he had no effect.

58% of respondents said Republicans in Congress have made the economy worse, versus just 21% who said they’ve made it better. 19% said the House GOP has had no effect.

In a matchup versus a generic Democrat, Gov. Tom Corbett lost 40% to 29%. While a “generic opponent” does not necessarily perform the same way an actual candidate does, the numbers are similar other polls that have shown the Governor losing to virtually unknown Democratic opponents.

In the overall sample, 30% of respondents identified as Democrats, 24% as Republicans, and 38% as independents. For the PA-Guv question, the pollster only sampled the 85% of respondents who said they are registered to vote.

The full polling report is here.

The pollster asked an interesting question about the origins of poverty: “Would you say that most poverty is caused by people’s lack of effort, circumstances beyond people’s control, or a combination”?

10% said lack of effort, 23% said circumstance, and 65% said a combination.

Marcellus shale

The poll delved into public attitudes about hydraulic fracturing, including data only from those respondents who said they’d heard of Marcellus shale.

Residents support Marcellus drilling 49% to 28%.

59% said drilling should be banned in state forests. 70% said it should be banned in state parks.

Respondents support a tax on Marcellus drilling by a wide margin, 70% to 17%.

56% said drilling has brought a significant number of new jobs to Pa.

43% to 36%, respondents said Marcellus drilling poses a significant threat to the environment. But they said 48% to 39% that it does not pose a significant threat to human health.

63% said more regulations are needed.

61% to 30% respondents said gas drilling will increase the nation’s energy independence.

In the final Marcellus questions, more respondents said drilling was not worth the risks to the environment or human health (45% to 38% on the environment; 47% to 37% on human health).

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