Poll: 6 Out Of 10 Pa. Voters Support Liquor Sales Privatization

common foundA recent poll commissioned by the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives
found that 3 out of 5 Pa. voters support the privatization of liquor sales in Pennsylvania.

The Commonwealth Foundation is a Harrisburg based conservative think tank that develops public policies rooted in the principles of ‘civil society.’  They promote economic freedom, personal responsibility, and limited government.

The poll surveyed 800 randomly selected voters over a period of five days via phone interview

The proposal to change Pennsylvania state laws governing the sale of wine and liquor includes four main components: selling all state-owned Wine and Spirits shops to private retailers; allowing wine and liquor to be sold in supermarkets and specialty stores; allowing beer to be sold in those same venues; and permitting Pa. residents to purchase wine via the internet and mail from non-Pa. retailers.

61% of those surveyed said they favor the proposal to end government distribution of wine and liquor in Pennsylvania; 41% of that number “strongly favored” the proposal.  The total opposition to the proposal was 35%, with 20% of those voters opposing it strongly.  5% of those surveyed neither favored nor opposed the proposal.

Voters who supported the proposal were also surveyed about their reasons for doing so.  The top two reasons for supporting the proposal were “less government regulation” and “convenience” which polled at 33% and 29%, respectively.

Other reasons for support included keeping up with other states (Pennsylvania is one of only 18 ‘control states’), competitive pricing for consumers, and a larger variety of wine, liquor, and beer available.

Support for privatization is highest among those who shop at state stores frequently, 77% among weekly shoppers versus 35% among those who “never” shop at state stores.

The highest support for privatization was found in Allegheny County (69%), the next highest was in the outer Philadelphia market (66%), which made up 21% of the total sample.

Independents and Republicans had the highest percentages of supporters at 71% and 69%, respectively.  Democrats split 52% to 43% over the issue.

There was little difference between men’s and women’s views about liquor privatization (men came in 2% higher).  Aside from alcohol consumption, age proved to be the biggest determining factor with over two-third of 18 to 49 year olds favoring privatization.

Among union members and their households, opinions on liquor privatization are more closely split; 52% to 43% for union members, 58% to 38% for their households.  Non-union households support privatization 61% to 33%.

Statewide, the poll found no difference in opinion among surveyed voters regardless of which side’s message they heard before being interviewed.  In the Philadelphia suburbs voters were noticeably swayed by each side’s message, however after listening to both sides, favored privatization 68% to 29%.

The survey was conducted by FM3, a Public Opinion Research and Strategy firm from January 22nd to 27th via landline and cell phones.

4 Responses

  1. I find it comical that, even for some Democratic legislators, the primary argument against privatization is not an alcohol policy argument, but instead that it’s going to cost the state “good-paying” jobs. The other day, I actually had to listen to an acquaintance babble about how his relative wouldn’t be able to find a $30/hr. job doing something similar if privatization goes through. Don’t you think JUST MAYBE there is a legitimate reason why Uncle Fred won’t find a similar job in the private sector for $30/hr? Uncle Fred is an unnecessary BURDEN on taxpayers. These “good paying” jobs appear to be a great byproduct of the LCB until you realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch! You and I are paying for what amounts to compulsory charity.

    And anyways, just who decided that it was the Commonwealth’s responsibility to ensure that these select individuals have “good paying” jobs? Public jobs (cops, construction workers, teachers) are a convenient byproduct of — not the motive for — services that the public demands of its government.

    NEWSFLASH: The Public demands public safety, accessible roadways and a comprehensive education system. There is NO public demand for a government monopoly over the liquor market.

  2. FWD FYI:
    Most PA voters want government out of liquor sales, poll says | PA Independent

    The poll found Pennsylvanians who shop at state stores most frequently are those who want to get rid of them.

    When broken down by “frequency of purchase,” 77 percent of those who purchase alcohol in state stores weekly support privatization, while 22 percent of those weekly shoppers oppose the idea. Among those who never buy alcohol at state stores, just 35 percent favor privatization, while 58 percent oppose it.

  3. Franklin and Marshall (Terry Madonna) are not generally consideree reliable as Quinnipiac.

    In any event, obviously, union employees would want to maintain their monopoly for their own benefit even at expense of consumers.

    What is surprising is that any union member or household supports liquor sale privatization. It appears that the United Commercial and Food Workers Union does not speak for union members.

  4. We need to see the actual poll to know how valid it is, and I’ll be asking the Commonwealth Foundation to release it to The Majority Party PA so that it can be considered with other polls on this issue.

    This survey runs contrary to last week’s F&M poll, which found that support for privatizing the state liquor stores has fallen to 53%, which is within the margin of error of the poll (3.9 percentage points). This is down from a high of 66% in favor (Quinnipiac, December 2010).

    All of the polls since January 2010 that meet national standards are at http://www.themajortypartypa.com. Click on Majority Mandate, then Privatiztion.

Comments are closed.

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