February 11, 2009 - Pennsylvania Voters Oppose County Sales Tax Hike 2-1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Back Rendell On Cigarette Tax, Video Poker

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Seven out of 10 Pennsylvania voters oppose a proposal by Gov. Ed Rendell to allow counties to raise the sales tax by one percent and keep the revenue for local government, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Opposition statewide is 69 - 28 percent and is consistent in Philadelphia and Allegheny County, where the sales tax could rise to eight percent, and in the rest of the state, where sales taxes could rise to seven percent. Opposition to the measure is 72 - 25 percent among Republicans, 62 - 34 percent among Democrats and 73 - 25 percent among independent voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Voters do support 67 - 28 percent Gov. Rendell's proposal to increase cigarette taxes 10 cents a pack, with solid support among every group. And voters back 62 - 34 percent Rendell's plan to legalize video poker machines in bars, using the money for tuition assistance at state and community colleges. Again, there is support across the political spectrum.

Despite bleak economic news and tough budget decisions, Rendell gets an overall 47 - 38 percent job approval rating. Republicans disapprove 51 - 31 percent but the Governor is backed 63 - 25 percent among Democrats and 44 - 41 percent among independent voters.

Voters split 42 - 43 percent in their approval of Rendell's handling of the state budget and give him a negative 42 - 47 percent approval for the way he is handling the economy.

"Pennsylvania's weak economy takes a toll on Gov. Rendell, who gets a negative score for the way he is handling the economy," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"But voters split right down the middle in their approval of the way Rendell is handling his new budget," Richards added.

"On his specific proposals, they reject overwhelmingly the idea of giving local governments the right to raise the sales tax while embracing his proposals for a cigarette tax and allowing state taxed video poker machines in bars and private clubs. His plan for a big cut in state jobs also gets a sharply divided opinion."

Voters narrowly oppose, 47 - 44 percent the Governor's proposal to cut 2,600 state jobs, with 51 - 41 percent support from Republicans and 51 - 40 percent support from independent voters. Democrats oppose the cuts 58 - 32 percent.

Pennsylvania voters approve 56 - 30 percent of the job Sen. Arlen Specter is doing, with Democratic approval at 62 - 26 percent, higher than the Republican support of 55 - 33 percent and 49 - 35 percent backing from independent voters.

But by a narrow 43 - 40 percent margin, voters say Sen. Specter does not deserve to be reelected. Republicans split 42 - 42 percent, as do Democrats 41 - 42 percent, while independent voters say no 45 - 36 percent.

"Pennsylvania voters are sharply divided over whether Sen. Arlen Specter should be reelected next year, with Republicans almost as negative as Democrats, probably because the GOP Senator is one of only three from the party supporting President Barack Obama's Stimulus Package," Richards said.

"But Specter always has been politically controversial and has needed votes from both parties to stay in office."

From February 4 - 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,490 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              47%    31%    63%    44%    45%    49%
Disapprove           38     51     25     41     43     33
DK/NA                15     19     12     15     12     18
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              44%    70%    39%    66%    33%    33%    35%
Disapprove           43     20     42     19     50     45     51
DK/NA                12     10     19     15     17     22     15
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor? (*Also 46% on 10/5/2005, 4/22/2004, 3/18/2004 and 12/16/2003)
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Feb 11  Nov 26  Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 7   Feb 7   Apr 5
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2007    2007    2006*
 
Approve              47      55      54      52      53      61      46
Disapprove           38      34      37      34      36      30      37
DK/NA                15      12       9      13      11       9      17
 
 
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              39%    33%    47%    34%    37%    40%
Disapprove           42     46     34     47     49     35
DK/NA                20     20     20     19     14     25
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              31%    51%    43%    44%    35%    39%    31%
Disapprove           54     30     33     34     45     47     49
DK/NA                16     19     24     22     20     14     21
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Feb 11  Nov 26  Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 7   Apr 10  Oct 5
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2007    2003    2005
 
Approve              39      39      32      37      35      49      26
Disapprove           42      42      51      42      48      24      60
DK/NA                20      20      17      21      17      27      14
 
 
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              56%    55%    62%    49%    56%    55%
Disapprove           30     33     26     35     34     27
DK/NA                14     13     12     16     10     18
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              49%    58%    57%    63%    52%    51%    54%
Disapprove           43     32     31     25     31     36     26
DK/NA                 8      9     13     12     17     12     20
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Feb 11  Nov 26  Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 8   Nov 26  Apr 22
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2007    2008    2004
 
Approve              56      62      59      54      54      62      47
Disapprove           30      25      29      31      31      25      36
DK/NA                14      13      12      14      14      13      17
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              54%    43%    71%    46%    53%    56%
Disapprove           23     30     12     27     27     18
DK/NA                23     27     17     27     20     26
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              55%    68%    59%    51%    48%    56%    50%
Disapprove           25     15     23     22     20     24     25
DK/NA                20     17     18     27     32     20     25
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Feb 11  Nov 26  Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 8   Nov 26  Mar 28
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2007    2008    2007
 
Approve              54      55      47      50      49      55      46
Disapprove           23      20      25      20      21      20      18
DK/NA                23      26      28      30      30      26      35
 
 
7. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Pennsylvania today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very satisfied        3%     3%     3%     3%     3%     3%
Smwht satisfied      46     39     53     43     46     45
Smwht dissatisfied   33     38     29     35     33     33
Very dissatisfied    17     18     14     18     17     17
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1      2      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very satisfied        1%     4%     2%     5%     1%     -      3%
Smwht satisfied      48     53     45     56     34     48     37
Smwht dissatisfied   34     26     32     29     47     29     37
Very dissatisfied    17     16     20      9     17     23     20
DK/NA                 -      1      1      1      1      -      3
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Pennsylvania today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied? (*also combined sat=46% 10/05/2005)
                                                             VERY+SMWHT....
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 11  Nov 26  Aug 5   Aug 22  May 12  Jun 5   Nov 26
                     2009    2008    2008    2007    2006    2002    2008*
 
Very satisfied        3       3       4       4       5       8       3
Smwht satisfied      46      43      44      51      46      60      43
Smwht dissatisfied   33      34      32      31      28      22      34
Very dissatisifed    17      18      19      13      19       8      18
DK/NA                 1       2       1       1       1       3       2
 
 
8. Looking ahead to the 2010 election for United States Senator, do you feel that Arlen Specter deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes/Deserves         40%    42%    41%    36%    41%    38%
No/Does not          43     42     42     45     48     38
DK/NA                17     16     17     19     10     24
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes/Deserves         41%    38%    42%    43%    38%    32%    39%
No/Does not          46     52     43     41     40     47     39
DK/NA                13     11     14     16     22     20     22
 
 
9. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              42%    32%    55%    39%    42%    42%
Disapprove           47     58     35     49     49     45
DK/NA                11     10     10     12      9     13
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              41%    59%    35%    59%    30%    32%    33%
Disapprove           53     32     48     29     59     57     56
DK/NA                 6      9     17     12     11     10     12
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  NoColl College
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Degree Degree
 
Approve              43%    43%    42%    42%    40%    51%    40%    48%
Disapprove           44     46     47     47     49     38     49     41
DK/NA                13     11     11     11     11     11     11     11
 
 
12. Would you describe the state of Pennsylvania's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Excellent             -      1%     -      -      -      -
Good                 11     11     11      9     12      9
Not so good          50     50     47     53     53     47
Poor                 38     37     41     37     34     42
DK/NA                 1      -      1      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Excellent             -      2%     2%     -      -      -      -
Good                 15     10      8      9     10      8     13
Not so good          50     40     44     60     49     55     47
Poor                 33     49     44     30     40     37     40
DK/NA                 2      -      2      1      1      -      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  NoColl College
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Degree Degree
 
Excellent             1%     -      1%     1%     -      -      1%     -
Good                  8     10     12     10     12      9     11      9
Not so good          52     47     52     48     51     55     47     59
Poor                 38     43     35     40     36     35     41     31
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      1      -      1      1
 
TREND: Would you describe the state of the Pennsylvania's economy these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                                                             Exclnt+Good...
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 11  Jul 14  Jul 13  Jun 24  May 27  Jun 24  Feb 11
                     2009    2005    2004    2004    2004    2004    2009
 
Excellent             -       1       1       1       1       1       -
Good                 11      41      41      42      38      42      11
Not so good          50      43      43      42      43      42      50
Poor                 38      13      12      13      16      13      38
DK/NA                 1       2       3       2       2       2       1
 
 
21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              42%    31%    52%    39%    42%    41%
Disapprove           43     52     35     48     46     41
DK/NA                15     17     13     13     12     18
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              35%    61%    37%    63%    35%    29%    27%
Disapprove           45     31     45     24     52     56     56
DK/NA                20      8     17     14     13     15     17
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the state budget?
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Feb 11  Aug 5   Aug 22  Apr 5   Jul 13  Jul 13  Apr 22
                     2009    2008    2007    2006    2004    2004    2004
 
Approve              42      40      43      35      45      45      31
Disapprove           43      47      44      45      38      38      43
DK/NA                15      13      12      19      17      17      26
 
 
22. Governor Rendell wants to increase the tax on cigarettes 10 cents a pack. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              67%    66%    71%    68%    65%    69%
Oppose               28     30     25     27     32     25
DK/NA                 4      4      4      6      3      6
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              62%    72%    69%    76%    61%    61%    64%
Oppose               32     26     31     20     31     36     30
DK/NA                 7      3      1      4      8      3      6
 
 
40. Governor Rendell wants to increase the tax on cigarettes 10 cents a pack. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     Feb 11  Mar 28
                     2009    2007
 
Support              67      71
Oppose               28      24
DK/NA                 4       5
 
 
23. Governor Rendell wants to legalize video poker machines in bars and private clubs and use the money generated for tuition assistance at state and community colleges in Pennsylvania. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              62%    52%    72%    59%    62%    63%
Oppose               34     45     23     38     35     33
DK/NA                 4      2      4      3      3      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              68%    70%    65%    71%    48%    60%    54%
Oppose               29     26     32     27     46     38     41
DK/NA                 3      4      3      2      6      2      5
 
 
24. Governor Rendell wants to let counties raise the sales tax one percent and keep the revenues for local government. This would be a maximum of 7 percent sales tax statewide, except for Allegheny and Philadelphia counties which would be a maximum of 8 percent sales tax. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              28%    25%    34%    25%    28%    29%
Oppose               69     72     62     73     70     67
DK/NA                 3      3      4      2      2      4
 
                                   Rest of state
                     Alghny Philly Combined
 
Support              27%    30%    28%
Oppose               69     67     69
DK/NA                 4      3      3
 
                     REST OF STATE....................
                     NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              25%    31%    26%    27%    30%
Oppose               73     67     71     70     67
DK/NA                 2      2      3      3      4
 
 
25. Governor Rendell wants to reduce the number of state jobs by about 2,600 through layoffs and attrition. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              44%    51%    32%    51%    53%    36%
Oppose               47     41     58     40     40     54
DK/NA                 9      8      9      9      7     11
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              54%    32%    39%    50%    40%    42%    44%
Oppose               38     64     53     38     51     50     46
DK/NA                 8      5      8     12      8      9      9