F&M Poll: Voters Want Transpo Funding, But Not Gas Tax

Crumbling bridgeFranklin and Marshall’s February poll shows strong opposition to the governor’s lottery privatization plan, majority support for sale of the state liquor store, and strong majority support for infrastructure improvements—even if voters don’t want higher transportation taxes and fees to pay for it.

Lottery Privatization

Gov. Corbett made headlines when decided to push – without legislative action – to privatize the management of the Pa. Lottery.

That’s a non-starter according to most Pa. voters. According to the poll, just 18% of registered voters approve the governor’s plan to privatize the management of the lottery. Even support among Republicans is low—only 27% approve of the plan along with 21% of independents, and 11% of Democrats.

84% of respondents said the move should require legislative approval.

One in seven registered voters “frequently” plays the lottery and 52% of those players say they will play the lottery less frequently if management is privatized. But of all those polled (not just “frequent” players), 75% said they would play the lottery about the same amount under a private plan.

Liquor Store Privatization

While opposition to lottery privatization proved strong, a majority of Pennsylvanians support selling the state’s liquor stores to private companies. Overall, 53% of registered PA voters support privatization including 61% of Republicans, 51% of independents, and 48% of Democrats. 34% oppose privatizing state stores.

The 55-34 breakdown is within historic norms according to F&M surveys from 2010 and 2002.


This has to be the most frustrating issue breakdown for lawmakers.

While a large majority (82%) of registered voters believe PA should increase spending on improving and repairing state roads and other transportation infrastructure, just 43% of registered voters support a plan to eliminate the cap on the oil franchise tax and increase driver and vehicle fees. 47% oppose that plan, which Gov. Corbett proposed. Corbett would also reduce the gas tax at the pump that is paid directly by consumers.

(These results conflict with a recent non-scientific poll of PoliticsPA readers in which 74% supported removing the tax cap.)


Franklin and Marshall surveyed 622 registered Pennsylvania voters between January 29 and February 3, 2013. Of those polled, 37% identified themselves as registered Republicans, 50% as registered Democrats, 10% as registered independents, and 2% as something else. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.

4 Responses

  1. Remember that a large majority — 73% at last report — support an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale gas as well as a tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars. Why should people support taxes they don’t want when political leaders refuse to enact taxes that people do want? People think the Corbett Administration and General Assembly are playing them for chumps, and they’re right. And this is one way the chumps fight back.

    As important, political leaders are not campaigning to gain popular acceptance for taxes, even when the need is manifest and the funds are dedicated to the purpose. People most likely would have better attitudes if they saw political leaders showing a little courage and not pandering to their campaign contributors.

  2. Reasonable Rep, astutely, points out why we, the people and our government are sucking the economic life out of our communities. And this Rep will not lead us away from our own weaken eases but, cynically, exploit our weaknesses for his power.

  3. “(These results conflict with a recent non-scientific poll of PoliticsPA readers in which 74% supported removing the tax cap.)”

    Of course they do. The (mostly) politically knowledgeable visitors to this site understand the practical need to pay for our expenditures. Mainstream America doesn’t. And their political clout is the reason that governments, from the federal level down to the local level, run such large deficits and incur such extensive debt. Everybody wants to invest in education, public safety, infrastructure, etc. But 1/3 of the electorate uses their political clout to scare elected leaders away from raising taxes, while the other 1/3 uses their clout to prevent substantive spending cuts in nearly all areas. It’s madness, but it’s real.

    Ignorant voters may sleep well at night knowing that they get to keep their sacred cow without immediate consequences. But you always have to pay the piper, and we’re sure as hell paying more today than we would’ve had we taken a reasonable, responsible approach to government spending over the past 15 years.

    I call myself a “Reasonable” Republican, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a staunch fiscal conservative. There are many areas where I oppose the degree of government spending, but if the majority decides that’s what it wants, come election time, I’m not going to grab my torch and pitchfork to knock out the elected officials who facilitated tax hikes or spending cuts to pay for it.

Comments are closed.

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