A new Franklin & Marshall College poll shows there hasn’t been much change since October in voters’ attitudes about the race between Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and Republican challenger Dave McCormick.
Casey leads McCormick 47 percent to 35 percent in a head-to-head match-up for U.S. Senate. In October, the F & M poll showed Casey at 46 percent to McCormick’s 39 percent.
Another poll, the Susquehanna P & R, conducted on Jan. 15 and 21, was closer. It had Casey at 45.9 percent and McCormick at 42.1 percent. That poll has a plus or minus 3.7 accuracy rate.
“There really isn’t that much difference between the polls–the numbers for Casey are virtually identical and Susquehanna has McCormick a tad higher than us. Could be the result of sampling variation, could be the result of question wording or order. What’s probably more important for McCormick is that 55 percent of voters said they didn’t know enough about him to have an opinion. He’ll definitely need to change that to be competitive,” said Berwood Yost, director of the Floyd Institute of Public Policy Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College,
President Joe Biden is barely ahead of former President Donald Trump in the presidential race, 43 to 42 percent, virtually a tie. Biden has a larger lead of 42 percent to 37 percent if a third-party candidate is added.
The poll claimed that more voters think Biden has better judgment than Trump, is more trustworthy and shares views closer to their own. But more voters believe that Trump can better handle the economy and serve as commander-in-chief.
And 43 percent think both Biden, 81, and Trump, 77, are too old to be president. One in five voters has an unfavorable opinion of both men.
Most Democrats, at 64 percent, think Biden is doing a good job. Only 8 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Independents believe that. Biden is also viewed more unfavorably by 57 percent of Pennsylvania voters than favorably by 41 percent of voters.
“The bad news for President Biden is that his numbers on handling of the economy and overall approval are dreadful and would normally spell doom for an incumbent,” said Vince Galko, a Republican strategist. “The good news for Biden is that he is running against Donald Trump. Former President Trump’s legal problems and his lack of support from Independents and suburban voters level the playing field and will make this a real dogfight. This election may not be about who is best to lead our nation, but rather who is least objectionable.”
Charlie Gerow, CEO of Quantum Communications, said, “The F&M poll shows the presidential race within the margin of error, which is not surprising. There are other recent polls that give President Trump a lead in Pennsylvania greater than the 1 percent margin in the F&M poll. While there are lingering questions about the sampling by F&M, one thing is clear: Pennsylvania is still up for grabs, and both teams have a lot of work to do.”
The survey also found that voters were “generally pessimistic” about the economy, although to a lesser extent than in October. Some 48 percent think things in the state are on the wrong track, but 55 percent believed that in October. And 47 percent believe they are worse off than they were a year ago, with 38 percent naming inflation as the cause and 19 percent saying the general cost of living. Some 7 percent listed the cost of food, and 7 percent said stagnant wages were the main reasons they feel worse off, the poll stated.
The Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College conducted the poll from Jan. 17 to 28. The responses included 1,006 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 450 Democrats, 414 Republicans, and 142 Independents. The sample error for this survey is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.