Despite recent negative news, more people continue to have favorable opinions of Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and former President Donald Trump in a poll conducted of registered Keystone State voters by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College.
The F&M Poll is the oldest statewide public opinion poll exclusively directed and produced in Pennsylvania. The poll is recognized as one of the top surveys in the United States, and is known nationally as a highly reliable source of information about Pennsylvania politics, public policy, public affairs, and elections.
The news of a settlement of sexual harassment allegations against a top aide did not affect the first-term governor, as Shapiro’s favorability rating rose from 56 to 57 percent.
News of guilty pleas and possible immunity deals from those indicted along with the former president in the Georgia election case seemed to help Trump, whose favorability rose seven points from 34 to 41%.
Just over 1 in 3 respondents (35%) believe that Pennsylvania is on the right track, a number that is down 4% from August but up eight points from a year ago.
While 18 percent feel that economy and finances are the most important problem facing the Commonwealth, that number is matched by those stating that government and politicians are the main issue. Crime, drugs, violence and guns rose three percent to 13%.
When it comes to personal finances, just 11 percent responded that they are better off today than a year ago, while half said they were worse off.
The question over public school funding has respondents split right down the middle, as 47 percent say the public schools in their community has enough funding to prepare students for college and the workplace, while 45% say theirs does not.
When queried about statewide districts, the numbers shifted to 28 and 61 percent, respectively.
Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) favor a law requiring that public schools have armed security personnel and 73% believe schools would be safer.
Two in five (41%) oppose using state tax dollars to fund crisis pregnancy centers, while 54% support creating laws that require transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex at birth.
President Joe Biden
The 46th president’s favorability ratings remained steady at 40 percent, although those who strongly favor him jumped from 12 to 19 percent. Biden’s approval ratings held steady at 30 percent.
Biden also continues to hold a two-point advantage over Trump on the question of a 2024 rematch between the duo.
Senator Bob Casey
Casey, who is running for reelection in 2024, saw his favorability rating jump from 37 to 42 percent. The state’s senior senator’s approval numbers also increased from 31 to 36 percent, representing the highest rating for Casey since October 2018 (43%).
Casey also holds a seven-point advantage over potential Republican challenger Dave McCormick, 46-39. Twelve percent of those surveyed indicated that they did not know at this time.
Gov. Josh Shapiro
The first-term chief executive also saw his approval numbers increase two points from 47 to 49 percent. Those responding that he is doing a poor job rose from 15 to 18 percent.
Trump will run away with the state’s presidential nomination if respondents have their way, as he now holds a 41-point lead over Flordia Gov. Ron DeSantis (55-14%). This is a 23-point increase from August. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is a distant third at 9%.
DeSantis remains the second choice at 30 percent – a 3% increase since August – while Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy were next at 13 percent.
Respondents were asked about the former president’s involvement in attempting to overturn the 2020 election. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said that his actions to try to remain in power were serious crimes – down 2% from August – while 40 percent indicated that they were not serious – up from 35% two months ago.
The number of those identifying as liberal is on the rise in the Keystone State, jumping to 25% – the highest level since October 2020 – while IDing as moderate fell to its lowest total in a year (37%).
Thirty-eight percent of respondents indicated they were a gun owner. Fifty-eight percent are in favor of creating laws that regulate gun ownership, while 41 percent oppose.
A resounding eight in nine respondents (89%) think that abortion should be legal under any or certain circumstances. Just nine percent think it should be illegal in all circumstances.
The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted October 11 – 22, 2023. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. The data included in this release represent the responses of 873 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 393 Democrats, 359 Republicans, and 121 Independents. The sample error for this survey is +/- 4.1 percentage points when the design effects from weighting are considered. The sample error for questions based on subgroups is larger and is +/- 6.4 percentage points for the Republican presidential primary questions.