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F&M Poll: Trump’s Pennsylvania Numbers Show Polarized Public

TrumpIn the newest Franklin & Marshall Poll, President Donald Trump’s approval ratings are comparable to Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey’s, but he faces intense opposition.  

Trump won Pennsylvania 48.58% to 47.85% a little over three months ago.

Trump’s 32% job approval (13% excellent plus 19% good) is in the same neighborhood as Senator Bob Casey’s (37%) and Wolf (38%). However, high negatives create a possible ceiling for Trump that Casey and Wolf do not face.  

Those who disapprove of Trump’s job performance do so emphatically.  54% of voters said the President is doing a poor job, while 13% responded that he was doing a fair job.

51% of respondents said they view Trump strongly unfavorably. Just 13% and 14% of respondents have strongly unfavorable views of Wolf and Casey, respectively. An additional 6% view him somewhat unfavorably.  Trump totals 37% of voters with favorable views between the 23% with strongly favorable and 14% with somewhat favorable views.  

Trump’s numbers are much more polarized than President Obama’s first F&M poll in February 2009. At that time Obama’s numbers were 38% strongly favorable, 18% somewhat favorable, 8% somewhat unfavorable, and 15% strongly unfavorable.  Obama’s job approval ratings showed more positives than Trumps.  25% said he was doing an excellent job, 30% said good, 23% said fair, and 13% said poor.  

An important caveat between the current poll and the Obama poll prevents an apples-to-apples comparison: the 2009 poll represented all Pennsylvania adults, not just registered voters, as today’s poll does. 14% of respondents in the 2009 poll were not registered to vote.

Trump faces his strongest challenge in Philadelphia, where only 10% view his job performance as either excellent or good. Trump is facing similar ratings among nonwhite voters, 92% score his performance as fair or poor.  

He scores 40% excellent/good on job performance in southwest Pa., where he won found widespread support among coal and natural gas workers. Other strong demographics include self-described conservatives, with 70% responding with excellent/good on his job performance.  

Trump also scores well across the state on his ability to handle the economy.  51% of voters view him as being able to handle the economy.  But he is facing off with 66% of voters who think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

A plurality of voters, 41%, said that the most important problem facing the country was the government and politicians.  A distant second with only 10% was immigration.  Foreign policy, terrorism & war with 7%, unemployment and personal finances with 6%, and the economy and finances with 5% rounded out the top five responses.  

The media got an even split between those who say Trump is treated very fairly and very unfairly with 32% giving each response.  21% said Trump was treated somewhat fairly, and 13% said he was treated somewhat unfairly.  

Asked their primary source of news, 31% said cable television, 28% said the internet (distinct from the 3% who said social media), 18% said network TV and 8% each said local newspapers and radio. Among cable news viewers, 44% named Fox News as their channel of choice, 29% said CNN and 15% said MSNBC.

Franklin & Marshall surveyed 816 registered voters from February 15-19. Respondents were contacted by letter and given the choice between phone interview or online interview. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent.

F&M calculates job approval differently than most pollsters that tends to result in lower ratings – regardless of party. Respondents choose between a rating of excellent, good, fair, and poor. The approval numbers are pulled from the excellent and good categories.

15 Responses

  1. Funny how nobody can show how the news is fake. Nationalism and fascism go hand and hand, Steve Bannon is following the totalitarian cookbook get ready for WWIII.

  2. President Trump is doing an excellent job. Where ever you got your poll numbers from is wrong or all from dems…..

  3. The 2016 election cycle demonstrated quite well two truisms about the polling industry.

    First, if you manipulate the sample and phrase the questions properly, you can pretty much get the results those you are working for want;

    And second, if you actually commit yourself before an election, your biases and flawed world view will still trump your polling data.

    F&M aptly demonstrated the second last year. It seems to be trying to fix it, which put a lasting blot on its credibility, by doubling down on the first.

  4. Trump is the most despised president in modern history. If it weren’t for Crosscheck he wouldn’t have won in MI and WI.

  5. Trump is a great man…he beat me hands down in the election…damn if Monica would only have swallowed….

  6. Cue the standard rightwing talkshow-types, telling you which polls you can and can’t trust.
    Weird how it’s always the one that suits their narrative.

  7. The fact that F&M is still being treated as a serious pollster after their horrific general election polling last year shows there is no consequences for poor performance in the political media/polling world.

  • Reader Poll: Should President Joe Biden Step Aside?

    • Yes. He should step aside because of his age, declining ability to do the job. (45%)
    • No. He should not step aside. (39%)
    • Yes. He should step aside because he can't beat Donald Trump. (15%)

    Total Voters: 231

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