Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pennsylvania Miscellaneous

-Florida's Rick Scott, Ohio's John Kasich, and Wisconsin's Scott Walker get most of the attention but Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett also belongs on the list of new Republican Governors that voters are having significant buyer's remorse about. Only 35% of voters in the state approve of the job he's doing to 46% who disapprove. Democrats are more unified (65%) in disapproving of him than Republicans are (58%) in liking him and independents split against him by a 35/40 margin as well. If voters could do it over again they say they'd vote for Dan Onorato over Corbett by a 47/44 margin. Barack Obama has a lot of problems in Pennsylvania but a popular Republican in the Governor's office is not one of them.

-The dominant sentiment toward Pat Toomey after 6 months in the Senate is ambivalence. 30% of voters give him good marks, 29% disapprove, and the largest mass of them at 41% has no opinion either way. This is perfectly good news for Toomey- you're a lot more likely to permanently damage yourself in the first few months in office than you are to set the world on fire so maintaining a low profile and not ticking everyone off is just fine. Better to be in his position than Corbett's.

-Democrats lead on the generic Congressional ballot in the state 46-40, an outcome that would almost certainly lead to the party picking up a number of seats if the election was held today. Democrats have two big things going for them compared to last year. They lead by 6 points with independents. In August of 2010 they had a 23 point gap with that voting bloc. And where last summer only 72% of Democrats were committed to supporting their party's House candidates, now 80% are. Six months of seeing what can happen with a Republican controlled House seems to have reunified the party.

I think Democrats' chances of retaking the House are being significantly undervalued by most experts right now. This finding, as well as one we made in Florida last week that Democrats led the generic ballot there by a 45-40 margin, reinforce our national polling which currently finds voters leaning Democratic 48-42 for the House next year. Voters are not happy with the new GOP majority and if there was an election today Democrats would at the least pick up a lot of seats, even if not enough to take back control.

-68% of Pennsylvania voters support some form of legal recognition for gay couples but most of them fall short of saying they would favor outright gay marriage in the state. Out of the 68%, 32% say they think gay couples should have full marriages right while another 36% say their preference would be civil unions. Asked just to say whether they think gay marriage should be legal or not though only 38% go that far with 51% of voters opposed.

We see the typical massive generational divide on this issue play itself out in Pennsylvania. A strong majority of voters under 45 support gay marriage but senior citizens are even firmer in their being against it, 69/20.

-The Steelers are Pennsylvania's favorite professional sports team. 30% of voters in the state pick them, followed by 22% for the Phillies, 12% each for the Penguins and Eagles, 6% for the Pirates, 4% for the Flyers, and 2% for the 76ers. For those keeping track that's 48% of voters in the state choosing one of Pittsburgh's 3 teams to only 40% picking a Philadelphia team even though that city has 4. Advantage Steel City on that front.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

Good to see that a majority of Pennsylvanians are against same-sex marriage. And I don't think that the Dems would retake the House if the election were held now. Your national poll (for Daily Kos) is a bit of an outlier. Most surveys find the race tied or slightly GOP advantage. And don't forget the power of redistricting! It was no more evident in your home state of North Carolina, where the Dems got thumped in the popular vote but still emerged as the majority party.

Anonymous said...

"Good to see that a majority of Pennsylvanians are against same-sex marriage."

That's right....keep Pennsylvania in the 1950s, when women were subservient to men and gays were firmly in the closet.

With that kind of backwards thinking, no wonder Pennsylvania's population is plummeting.

Anonymous said...

"With that kind of backwards thinking, no wonder Pennsylvania's population is plummeting."

Hmmm, even larger majorities oppose same-sex marriage in the South - is that why their population's are surging?

The Interesting Times said...

Pennsylvania is yet another bit of support for my contention that those who insist on gay marriage over equal civil unions are forcing the gay rights movement to take the longer, harder road.

A lot of gay marriage opponents are just purely hung up on the term "marriage."

I contend that the civil unions would easily be approved by a majority of Americans today. But if you insist on calling it marriage, it'll be another 20-30 years.

The Interesting Times said...

As for Toomey, it seems he's following the Casey model: Keep your mouth shut, keep your head down, and keep yourself out of trouble.

Anonymous said...

Tons of interesting results, thanks so much for polling all of those questions!!

As for the gay marriage debate, I think it's terrible that so many Pennsylvanians continue to oppose equal rights for gay couples. Opponents of gay marriage are just as hung up on the term "marriage" itself, and I fail to see why the word matters so much to them when there is a clear difference between civil marriage and religious marriage, but that's just me.

As for Pennsylvania's "plummeting" population, that's a mischaracterization. While it's certainly not booming, it gained more than 400,000 people between 2000-2010 and continues to be the 6th most populous state in the nation.

Anonymous said...

@The Interesting Times:

Well, you are right, but it is hardly a deduction worthy of Sherlock Holmes. Every poll in every state shows majority or super-majority support for civil unions, but marriage, while trending pro-gay, is very much a mixed bag.

The linguistics appear to matter a great deal to a lot of people on both sides. Consider that the entire Prop 8 battle, which consumed over $80 million and was the most expensive CA ballot referendum ever, was strictly about the word marriage. CA had (and has) a domestic partnership law and Prop 8 supporters didn't dare try to take that away, although they surely would have liked to.

But if so many people care about the word, that is an argument against accepting civil unions. The whole point is that people don't see civil unions as the "real deal" and that they will never be accepted as equal. I think they should be accepted as a temporary "bridge" to show people that no harm follows from recognition of gay couples. But they are a layover, not the final destination.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as how 42% of the respondents were 46 - 65 years old, it should hardly be surprising that the majority were against gay marriage. It is a generational thing that will change as the old, bigoted, conservative people die out. Let's also note that 68% of people approved of either gay marriage or civil unions, so it's not as though PA is some homophobic state. Just stuck in old fashioned ideas of marriage on one hand while getting divorces left and right on the other...

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many blacks from liberal, tolerant, diverse filthadelphia are against gay marriage? They're Obama's bread and butter base, too. How embarrassing for liberals to be split down the middle like that. I guess the only solution is to blame white people and ficticious evil conservatives for all the problems in the world, rather than dealing with reality.

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