A new Franklin and Marshall poll shows that the economy and unemployment are the most pressing issues facing the state.
Unemployment and economy beat out the other issues by a sizeable margin, with 31% saying those were the biggest problems. The second most important issue was education, according to 19% of respondents.
These issues also registered high responses based on a 1-10 scale of importance, with 10 being the most important: help create jobs, 9; improve the economy, 8.8; and improve public schools, 8.2.
The poll went on to ask respondents to scale other issues: protect the state’s environment, 8; increase spending to repair infrastructure, 7.4; reform the pension system, 7.3; expand Medicaid, 6.9; repair storm run off systems, 6.9; regulate the natural gas drilling, 6.7.
Privatization of state commodities didn’t fair too well when ranked in importance; privatizing liquor stores only earned 4.7 and doing the same with the lottery scored just 3.3.
Support for privatizing state liquor stores has taken a hit in the last year, falling from 53% support last February to 46% now. A majority, 62%, believe that the state stores should stay as they are or be modernized, as opposed to just 33% who believe they should be sold to private companies.
The legalization of medical marijuana fared very well in this poll, with 81% of respondents saying that they would support such a policy.
This differs from a full legalization policy, which wasn’t supported by respondents in this poll. A majority, 58% said it should not be legalized; 36% said it should and 6% did not know.
The survey findings are based on the results of interviews conducted January 22 – 27, 2014. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College under the direction of the poll’s Director Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost, and Project Manager Jacqueline Redman. The data included in this release represent the responses of 580 Pennsylvania registered voters, including 289 Democrats, 214 Republicans, and 77 registered as Independent/Other. The sample of registered voters was obtained from Voter Contact Services.