Plurality of PA Voters Say ‘Government, Politicians’ the Most Important Problem in the State

Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media and after receiving the Service Employees International Union's endorsement Friday, June 6, 2014, in Philadelphia. Wolf is challenging Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett in Nov. 4th general election. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP/Matt Rourke

A plurality of Pennsylvania voters believes “government” and “politicians” are the “most important problem” facing the Keystone State today, while over one-third say Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is doing a “poor” job as governor, a Franklin & Marshall College poll released this week found.

The survey, taken June 7- 13, 2021, among 444 registered Pennsylvania voters, asked respondents to identify the “most important problem” in the state today. A strong plurality, 30 percent, said “government” and “politicians.” In March, the Chinese coronavirus led the set of issues with 31 percent considering it the most important issue.

Unemployment and personal finances ranked the second highest with 12 percent, followed by taxes (8 percent), the coronavirus (7 percent), crime, drugs, violence, and guns (5 percent), and economy/finances, education/school, roads/infrastructure/transportation, racism, and civil liberties garnering 3 percent support.

The survey also asked respondents to rate the way Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who earned the name “Commie Tommy Wolf” due to his stringent lockdown requirements and threats to business owners last year, has handled his job as governor.

Over one-third of voters, 37 percent, said he is doing a “poor job” — a 13 percent jump from the 24 percent who said the same in July 2020. Twenty-nine percent said he is doing a “good” job, followed by 23 percent who said a “fair job,” and 10 percent who said an “excellent” job. The survey also found 43 percent rating President Biden’s job performance as “poor” — a seven-point jump from March.

Notably, Pennsylvania voters in May voted to strip Gov. Wolf of his emergency powers. One of the questions on the ballot asked if voters wanted to “change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration — and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration — through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval.”

The other asked if the Keystone State’s constitution should be amended to make disaster emergency declarations expire after three weeks, or 21 days, “regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency.”

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