F&M Poll shows high approval for Wolf, proposed budget as first term commences

Tom Wolf, governor of Pennsylvania, enjoys the support of a majority of the state’s voters according to the most recent F&M Poll. The poll indicated not only a strong approval rating, but also support for Wolf’s proposed state budget and tax increases.

G. Terry Madonna, who also directs F&M’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs, conducts the F&M Poll. Data for the poll are based on interviews conducted from March 17-23. There were a total of 597 respondents, all of whom are registered voters in Pennsylvania: 294 self-identified Democrats, 225 self-identified Republicans, and 78 self-identified Independents. Responses were weighted based on factors such as gender and party registration.

According to the poll, 40 percent of voters view Wolf favorably, as opposed to 27 percent who view him unfavorably. This gives Wolf a higher approval rating than that of Tom Corbett, former governor of Pennsylvania, at the beginning of his term. Wolf has a higher approval rating among Democrats, 58% of whom view him favorably, as compared to the total electorate. And while 47 percent of voters characterize Pennsylvania as “on the wrong track,” 39 percent feel the state is finally headed in the right direction — a higher percentage than any time since January 2010.

Additionally, according to the poll, 59 percent of voters support Wolf’s budget plan. The proposed budget would increase spending on education by $400 million; this reflects the poll, which indicated 27 percent of voters think education should be the state’s legislative priority.

60 percent of voters support increasing personal income taxes and sales taxes to reduce property taxes, as well as the creation of a Marcellus Shale extraction tax to both reduce property taxes and raise funds for education.

“The property tax is the most hated tax in the state,” said Madonna in the article on F&M’s news website, F&M Poll Shows Majority of Voters Support Gov. Wolf’s Budget. The poll indicated that 25 percent of state voters feel the year’s legislative priority should be reforming state property taxes, echoing Madonna’s comment.

Other data gathered by the poll showed 66 percent of voters support increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and that 49 percent support privatizing the state’s wine and liquor stores while 39 percent oppose privatization.

The poll also evaluated Obama’s favorability with Pennsylvania voters. 35 percent believe Obama is doing a “good” or “excellent” job, which aligns with other recent surveys on his favorability. Obama’s approval ratings differ by party affiliation: 60 percent of Democrats approve of his job as president, as opposed to 22 percent of Independents and five percent of Republicans.

Junior Steven Viera is the Managing Editor. His email is sviera@fandm.edu.

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