According to the F&M Poll, Donald Trump (right) still leads other contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, including Marco Rubio (left). Photo courtesy of
According to the F&M Poll, Donald Trump (right) still leads other contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, including Marco Rubio (left). Photo courtesy of

By Steven Viera || Senior Editor

While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton remain at the head of the pack for the Republican and Democratic nominations for president, respectively, the most recent F&M Poll reveals the gaps between these frontrunners and their competition are narrowing among Pennsylvania voters. In addition, the Poll indicated ongoing frustration and dissatisfaction with the condition of state politics in

Registered Democrats in the state prefer Clinton to her closest rival, Bernie Sanders, by a margin of 48 percent to 27 percent; the remaining voters are either undecided (18 percent) or prefer a different candidate (seven percent). Despite this, Democrats have high favorability ratings for both Clinton and Sanders—65 and 62 percent,

Among Pennsylvania Republicans, Trump holds his position in first place with support from 22 percent of registered voters, while trailing him in close competition for second place are Marco Rubio with 16 percent, John Kasich with 15 percent—a massive jump from the three percent he garnered in January—and Ted Cruz with 12 percent. Ben Carson trails the others at six percent, and 25 percent of Pennsylvania Republicans remain undecided about their preferred candidate. Among likely voters, the race is much closer: Trump with 21 percent, Rubio with 18 percent, and both Kasich and Cruz with 16 percent. Republicans also have lower favorability ratings for their candidates, with Rubio as the only candidate with strong favorability (61 percent).

President Obama maintains decent approval ratings among Pennsylvania’s registered voters, 42 percent of whom call his performance “excellent” or “good.” Obama’s ratings fluctuate along party lines, with 70 percent of Democrats, 36 percent of independents, and nine percent of Republicans rating his job performance favorably. Furthermore, according to the Poll, Obama’s job approval ratings are higher than President George W. Bush’s ratings among Pennsylvania voters at a similar time in his

In Pennsylvania politics, 31 percent of voters rate Governor Tom Wolf’s job performance as “excellent” or “good,” which represents a five-point drop from his October score and an eight-point drop from his August score. Wolf’s approval rating is falling among members of his own party, as 45 percent of Democrats—down from 57 percent in October—characterize him as doing an “excellent” or “good” job. Sixty-seven percent of registered voters in both parties consider Pennsylvania to be “on the wrong track,” up 62 percent from October, and 47 percent say government and politicians are the greatest problems facing the state.

The Poll’s conclusions are based on telephone or online interviews conducted by the staff of F&M’s Center for Opinion Research from Saturday, February 13 until Sunday, February 21. The study evaluated 985 respondents—486 Democrats, 371 Republicans, and 128 independents—and answers were weighted by gender, region, and party affiliation to reflect the characteristics of Pennsylvania’s population. The sample error for the poll is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. In addition to the staff of the Center for Opinion Research, the Poll is produced in conjunction with several local and regional news outlets, including the Philadelphia Daily
News, WGAL-TV in Lancaster, and others.

Senior Steven Viera is the Senior Editor. His email is