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F&M Poll: PA voters still sour on economy; support legal abortion, pot

  • Scott LaMar

Aired; February 5th, 2024.


What are Pennsylvanians thinking about issues like the economy, abortion and legalization of marijuana?

Polls from Franklin and Marshall College several times a year help to crystalize opinions on those issues and what voters are saying about candidates for office.

The February 2024 poll released late last week shows voters are still pessimistic about the economy and the direction of the state but maybe a little more positive than just a few months ago.

On The Spark Monday, Berwood Yost, Director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College said voters say the economy is the biggest problem facing the state,”We asked people who said they’re worse off than a year ago, financially. And basically it’s inflation. People will say the cost of living is just too high. Now, you have a small number of people who say something like taxes or Biden administration policies, but that’s a generally small number. Most people say it’s the cost of living. Cost of food specifically was mentioned frequently as a concern for people. So these economic, feelings are still pervasive, but they’re not as common as they were even, a year or so ago. Are there glimmers of optimism? There are fewer people who are talking about the economy as a problem than, say, in September, October of 2022 at the time of the last midterm election.”

Abortion has become one of the issues that most motivates voters. The F&M poll found that 40% of those surveyed said “abortion should be legal under any circumstances” while 50% concluded abortion should be “legal under certain circumstances.” Eight percent said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Yost added,” There are these triggering events that change attitudes, right? The drive, attitude change, the Dobbs decision (U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion nationally). Prior to that, it was probably about 15, 16%, 20%, maybe in a given poll that might have said abortion should always be illegal.”

On the issue of whether marijuana should be legal for recreational purposes, 63% said definitely or probably yes compared to 33% who answered probably or definitely no.

Pennsylvania will be a swing state in the 2024 Presidential election. The February poll showed President Biden and former President Donald Trump in a dead heat, 43%-42%. 53% have an unfavorable view of Trump and 45% don’t view Biden favorably.

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