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F&M Poll: Democrats Lead Key Races, GOP Election Overall

While Pennsylvania Democrats John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro appear well ahead of their Republican opponents in the races for U.S. senator and governor, support for the GOP statewide is 2% higher than for Democrats, according to the August Franklin & Marshall Poll.

"The electoral environment favors Republicans because the economy is still a concern, Biden's job ratings are low, and people remain mostly concerned about their finances and the economy," F&M Poll Director Berwood Yost said.

The poll, conducted Aug. 15-21, is the first survey before the Nov. 8 congressional elections, which historically favor the political party out of power.

"Since this environment clearly favors Republicans, the main considerations this fall will likely turn on the experience and qualities of the candidates," Yost said.

Despite signs of inflation cooling and a string of Democratic legislative successes in Congress, more than two in five, or 43% of the respondents to the August survey, say they are "worse off" financially than a year ago, reflecting their views expressed in the three previous polls.

Many Republicans say they are worse off, but 24% of Democrats and 47% of independents also say they are worse off financially.

Support for abortion rights in Pennsylvania, according to the poll, appears to have increased, but not significantly since the May poll, with nearly nine in 10 registered voters who want abortion legal — 52% under certain circumstances and 37% under any circumstances.

Fifty-nine percent of voters oppose amending the state's constitution to say there is no constitutional right to abortion in the state.

About 34% of registered voters believe President Joe Biden is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, a rating unchanged since last month's poll.

In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman leads Republican Mehmet Oz, a heart surgeon who never before ran for office, 43% to 33%, "although the race is a bit closer (45% to 36%) when those who are leaning toward a candidate are included," Yost said.

Fetterman has a larger share of Democratic support, 76%, than Oz has among Republicans, 62%, and he leads Oz among independent voters, 34% to 17%.

For Pennsylvania governor, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro leads Republican State Sen. Doug Mastriano, 44% to 33%. Shapiro gets a larger share of Democrats, 76%, than Mastriano gets Republicans, 66%. Shapiro also leads Mastriano among independent voters, 40% to 24%.

For more about primary elections in general, including why there are so many candidates in primaries, check out the F&M Poll's August 2021 newsletter.

The F&M Poll, like all surveys, is a snapshot of a specific point in time, not a forecast. All polls have variability; voters change their minds; and events after a survey can sometimes influence voters' decisions, including whether to vote at all.

Conducted by F&M's Center for Opinion Research, the poll reflects interviews with 522 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 234 Democrats, 214 Republicans and 74 independents. The sample error is plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.

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