1) The percentage of Pennsylvanians who say the state is headed in the right direction now stands at 31 percent–while 59 percent believe it is off on the wrong track, virtually unchanged from August.
2) Registered Pennsylvanians continue to express pessimism about the economy. A third (32 percent) cite the economy and one in four (21 percent) say personal finances/unemployment are the most important problems facing individuals and their families.
3) Republican Tom Corbett leads Democrat Dan Onorato in the race for governor by three points among registered adults (33 percent to 30 percent with 37 percent undecided) and by four points among those most likely to vote (36 percent to 32 percent with 31 percent undecided). When voters who “lean” toward a candidate are included, Corbett’s lead remains about the same among likely voters (41 percent to 37 percent with 19 percent undecided.) Registered voters cite the economy (24 percent), reducing/ spending (13 percent) and taxes (10 percent), respectively, as the most important issues in their vote for governor.
4) The large proportion of Pennsylvania voters who have not heard enough about the gubernatorial candidates to form an opinion of them (45 percent for Corbett and 43 percent for Onorato) is unusually high for this point in the election cycle.
5) In the Pennsylvania US senate race, Republican Pat Toomey leads Democrat Joe Sestak by three points among registered adults (32 percent to 29 percent with 39 percent undecided) and by nine points among those most likely to vote (38 percent to 29 percent and 32 percent undecided). When voters who “lean” toward a candidate are included in these figures, Toomey’s lead among likely voters is slightly larger (46 percent to 34 percent with 17 percent undecided).
6) Registered Pennsylvanians cite the economy (34 percent) as the most important issue in their vote for U.S. senate. A plurality of supporters for both candidates (34 percent of Toomey voters and 40 percent of Sestak voters) says the economy is the most important issue in their senate preference. Toomey voters (15 percent) are more likely than Sestak voters (2 percent) to say that issues related to the size of government are driving their preference.
7) President Obama’s job approval in Pennsylvania continues to remain relatively weak with only 36 percent of registered adults finding his performance positive, specifically 10 percent “excellent” and 26 percent “good.” Almost three times as many (30 percent) rate the president’s job performance as “poor” compared to “excellent.” Governor Ed Rendell’s job performance also is low among registered adults—only 35 percent find his performance positive, with five percent reporting “excellent” and 30 percent reporting “good.” About the same proportions (27 percent) say he is doing a “poor job.”