F&M poll: 57 percent of respondents in Pa. says it’s time for a change from President Trump

Nearly two-thirds of registered voters who took part in the survey say they are highly interested in the 2020 elections.

  • David Wenner/PennLive

(Lancaster) —  Nearly two-thirds of registered voters in Pennsylvania say they are highly interested in the 2020 elections — nearly as many as during the lead up to the 2018 mid-terms, according to a new poll.

Of those, 41 percent believe President Donald Trump has done a good enough job to deserve re-election, while 57 percent say it’s time for a change.

Those are among the findings of a new poll from Franklin & Marshall College. The poll of 628 registered voters included 292 Democrats, 251 Republicans and 85 independents. It was conducted Jan. 21-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 percentage points.

The poll found that 38 percent believe Trump is doing a good or excellent job — slightly higher than in October.

Meanwhile, the preferred presidential candidate among Democrats in Pennsylvania has grown murkier since October. Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead, favored by 22 percent of Democrats; but he had been favored by 30 percent of Democrats in the last F&M poll in October.

Biden is followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, favored by 15 percent (up from 12 percent in October), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, favored by 14 percent (down from 18 percent in October).

Conor Lamb, center, then a Democratic candidate for the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, pose for a selfie with a supporter during a rally at the Carpenter's Training Center in Collier, Pa., Tuesday, March 6, 2018.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

FILE PHOTO: Conor Lamb, center, then a Democratic candidate for the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, pose for a selfie with a supporter during a rally at the Carpenter’s Training Center in Collier, Pa., Tuesday, March 6, 2018.

That cluster is followed by former mayors Mike Bloomberg, favored by 7 percent, and Pete Buttigieg, favored by 6 percent.

Regarding Trump’s favorability rating, the poll authors note it’s similar to that of former President Barack Obama at the same point in his successful re-election campaign.

As usual, Trump is far more popular among Republicans, with 77 percent having a positive view of his performance, as opposed to 31 percent of independents and eight percent of Democrats.

Overall, 57 percent of those surveyed said it’s time for a different president and, of those, 87 percent said they will vote against Trump no matter what.

Regarding overall enthusiasm, people who consider themselves liberals show the most, with 78 percent saying they are highly interested. That compares to 68 percent of conservatives and 61 percent of moderates.

Some of the poll participants agreed to be interviewed by the news media.

Brian Taylor, a Philadelphia-area Democrat, says he plans to vote for Sanders because of “his authenticity, his accountability and his consistency.”

“He is also trying to take down money in politics, which is one of the biggest threats to our democracy in the modern age,” said Taylor, 29, who works for a non-profit counseling people living with HIV.

Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he speaks at a campaign rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center Oceanfront, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Wildwood, N.J.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he speaks at a campaign rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center Oceanfront, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Wildwood, N.J.

He disagrees with those who argue only a moderate Democrat can defeat Trump. Rather, Sanders champions policies that benefit working people, which will win over people from both major parties and independents, according to Taylor.

Andrew Maietta, an Allegheny County Democrat, says he leans toward Biden, adding “I’m not crazy” about the policies of Sanders and Warren.

“I’m not in favor of the free college and I think they are a little too far to the left,” says Maietta, a retired professor of filmmaking.

He says he’s also considering Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for reasons including his view her policies are “more centered,” and she doesn’t generate the level of disdain he believes many Republicans feel toward Democrats such as Biden or Hillary Clinton.

Rick Hall of McKean County is a registered Democrat who says he doesn’t always vote as a Democrat and is “underwhelmed” by the Democratic field. He further says “I do not like Trump” and Trump’s handling of foreign policy “scares the crap out of me.”

The candidates who participated in the education forum included (clockwise from top left): Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, and Tom Steyer.

Jared Murphy / WESA

The candidates who participated in the education forum included (clockwise from top left): Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, and Tom Steyer.

Still, he says “unless the Democrats come up with something else, I’ll have to vote for him.”

Moreover, Hall, who is 68 and retired after spending most of his career in the steel industry, believes Trump “has done a good job” on domestic issues including the economy.

Scott Mcgowan, a Libertarian, says “Trump shoots his mouth off and creates problems.” However, while stressing the election is still nearly a year away, he says, “If it was today it would be Trump” getting his vote.

Some other poll findings:

  • Just over half of the voters surveyed believe Pennsylvania is “headed in the right direction,” with 33 percent saying they are “better off” financially than a year ago, and a strong majority saying they expect to be the same or better off financially in a year.
  • On the other hand, only 38 percent believe the United States is headed in the right direction.
  • Forty-eight percent of voters support natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, with 44 percent opposing it. However, 49 percent believe the environmental risks outweigh the economic benefits.
  • Forty-eight percent favor a ban on natural gas fracking, while 39 percent oppose a ban.

 

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