February 17, 2011 - Obama Approval Up In Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Casey Has Big Jump, But Many Still Don't Know Him

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President Barack Obama's job rating among Pennsylvania voters is 51 - 44 percent, his highest standing in the Commonwealth since July 2009 when it was 56 - 33 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

But Pennsylvania voters tell the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey they oppose two of President Obama's key issues:
  • Voters say 52 - 40 percent that the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan;
  • Voters say 48 - 42 percent that Congress should repeal Obama's health care reform.
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. has a 44 - 24 percent approval rating, but even after four years in office, 31 percent of the state's voters are undecided about him. By 46 - 28 percent, voters say Casey deserves another term in office.

"President Barack Obama's approval numbers are up substantially since December 16, when the Commonwealth's voters split 44 - 43 percent on his job approval," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Obama's approval rating has been going up nationally as well, and the 7-point jump in approval since December in this pivotal swing state should be good news in the White House."

Obama's reversal is fueled in part by his improved standing among independent voters. In December, they split on his job performance 41 - 42 percent; now they approve 50 - 46 percent. Democrats now approve 81 - 14 percent, compared to 72 - 17 percent in December, while Republicans disapprove 80 - 15 percent, compared to 75 - 18 percent in December. His strength is largely among women who give him a thumbs-up 55 - 39 percent, while men split 47 - 49 percent.

Asked about the 2012 election, 45 percent say they would vote for the president and 39 percent say they would vote for the Republican who runs against him. By a narrow 48 - 45 percent Pennsylvania voters say Obama deserves a second term in the Oval Office.

Although Obama is becoming personally more popular, more Pennsylvania voters reject his positions on health care and Afghanistan.

Calling for repeal of the health care reform legislation are Republicans 81 - 12 percent and independent voters 47 - 40 percent. Democrats back the reform 69 - 22 percent.

Shifting to support the president, Republicans say 55 - 36 percent that fighting in Afghanistan is the right thing to do. The U.S. should not be involved, Democrats say 61 - 29 percent and independent voters say 54 - 39 percent.

"The president seems to be more popular than his stance on some major issues," said Brown. "On the war especially, public opinion has turned in recent months. Just last July, Pennsylvania voters said 48 - 45 percent that fighting in Afghanistan was the right thing to do."

Sen. Casey's 44 - 24 percent job approval score is a jump from his 39 - 29 percent approval rating in Quinnipiac University's December 16 poll. In today's survey, Democrats approve 58 - 10 percent and independent voters approve 42 - 30 percent. He gets a negative 32 - 37 percent score from Republicans.

"Although Sen. Bob Casey, the son of a former governor with the same name, was a statewide elected official for eight years as state auditor general and has served four years as senator, it is somewhat surprising that 31 percent of Pennsylvania voters haven't decided whether they think he is doing a good job," Brown said. "That's not that much lower than the 39 percent who don't have an opinion about the Commonwealth's other senator, Pat Toomey, who has been in office just six week."

Pennsylvania voters say 45 - 35 percent they say they would vote for Casey against the Republican nominee in 2012.

Toomey's approval rating is 41 - 21 percent.

From February 8 - 14, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,366 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

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. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Approve              51%    15%    81%    50%    47%    55%    55%
Disapprove           44     80     14     46     49     39     40
DK/NA                 5      5      5      4      4      5      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              52%    85%    50%    55%    49%    38%    37%
Disapprove           43     12     43     41     47     57     57
DK/NA                 4      3      7      3      4      5      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 17  Dec 16  Jul 14  May 13  Apr 08  May 04  Dec 16
                     2011    2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2010
 
Approve              51      44      46      46      45      66      44
Disapprove           44      43      49      48      49      29      43
DK/NA                 5      13       5       6       6       5      13
 
 
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Approve              44%    32%    58%    42%    41%    48%    43%
Disapprove           24     37     10     30     30     19     25
DK/NA                31     31     32     29     29     33     32
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              39%    59%    49%    45%    35%    35%    46%
Disapprove           27     16     22     21     30     42     22
DK/NA                34     25     29     34     36     23     33
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Feb 17  Dec 16  Jul 13  May 13  Apr 8   May 28  Dec 16
                     2011    2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2010
 
Approve              44      39      48      47      48      56      39
Disapprove           24      29      29      30      30      21      29
DK/NA                31      32      23      23      22      23      32
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Pat Toomey is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Approve              41%    61%    25%    43%    44%    37%    40%
Disapprove           21      9     30     20     19     22     23
DK/NA                39     30     45     37     36     41     37
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              32%    35%    36%    40%    43%    50%    45%
Disapprove           20     27     28     22     21     13     16
DK/NA                47     38     35     38     36     37     39
 
 
6. Looking ahead to the 2012 election for President... If the 2012 election for President were being held today, do you think you would vote for Barack Obama the Democratic candidate, or the Republican candidate?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Obama                45%     4%    82%    43%    42%    48%    54%
Republican           39     87      7     33     41     37     29
DEPENDS ON CAND(VOL) 11      8      7     19     11     11     11
DK/NA                 5      2      5      6      6      4      5
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Obama                54%    80%    39%    49%    43%    32%    29%
Republican           32     10     35     39     42     44     55
DEPENDS ON CAND(VOL)  9     10     17      9      8     19     11
DK/NA                 6      1      9      3      8      5      5
 
TREND: If the 2012 election for President were being held today, do you think you would vote for Barack Obama the Democratic candidate, or the Republican candidate?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16
                     2011    2010
 
Obama                45      41
Republican           39      37
DEPENDS ON CAND(VOL) 11      14
DK/NA                 5       8
 
 
7. Looking ahead to the 2012 election for President... Do you feel that Barack Obama deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  48%     7%    82%    47%    44%    51%    56%
No/Does not          45     86     12     42     48     42     38
DK/NA                 8      6      6     11      8      8      6
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                  54%    84%    44%    52%    41%    37%    30%
No/Does not          39     11     45     42     44     59     60
DK/NA                 7      5     10      6     14      3     10
 
TREND: Looking ahead to the 2012 election for President, do you feel that Barack Obama deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                     Feb 17  Jul 14
                     2011    2010
 
Yes/deserves         48      42
No/does not          45      48
DK/NA                 8      10
 
 
8. Looking ahead to the 2012 election for United States Senator... If the 2012 election for United States Senator were being held today, do you think you would vote for Bob Casey Jr. the Democratic candidate, or the Republican candidate?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Casey                45%     8%    80%    38%    42%    47%    57%
Republican           35     78      6     30     38     32     24
DEPENDS ON CAND(VOL)  9      8      6     15      9     10      9
DK/NA                11      6      8     17     11     11     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Casey                54%    70%    48%    43%    34%    41%    32%
Republican           34     15     33     33     40     36     45
DEPENDS ON CAND(VOL)  4     11      6     10      7     16     10
DK/NA                 8      5     13     14     19      8     12
 
TREND: If the 2012 election for United States Senator were being held today, do you think you would vote for Bob Casey Jr. the Democratic candidate, or the Republican candidate?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16
                     2011    2010
 
Casey                45      43
Republican           35      35
DEPENDS ON CAND(VOL)  9      11
DK/NA                11      11
 
 
9. Looking ahead to the 2012 election for United States Senator... Do you feel that Bob Casey Jr. deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  46%    19%    72%    43%    44%    48%    57%
No/Does not          28     52      7     32     34     23     23
DK/NA                26     29     22     26     22     29     20
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                  46%    64%    51%    45%    34%    47%    38%
No/Does not          29     13     28     30     33     35     30
DK/NA                25     22     21     25     32     18     32
 
TREND: Do you feel that Bob Casey Jr. deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16
                     2011    2010
 
Yes                  46      40
No/Does not          28      33
DK/NA                26      27
 
 
10. Do you think Barack Obama is too liberal, too conservative, or about right?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Liberal              39%    75%    10%    39%    44%    34%    34%
Conservative          6      4     10      4      8      5     11
About right          47     11     76     48     42     53     50
DK/NA                 7     10      4      8      7      8      5
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Liberal              36%     8%    40%    40%    41%    49%    49%
Conservative          7      5      5      5      9      5      8
About right          51     86     45     50     45     35     32
DK/NA                 6      1      9      5      5     10     11
 
TREND: Do you think Barack Obama is too liberal, too conservative, or about right?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16  May 01
                     2011    2010    2008
 
Liberal              39      38      35
Conservative          6       7       5
About right          47      45      49
DK/NA                 7      10      12
 
 
11. Do you think Bob Casey Jr. is too liberal, too conservative, or about right?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Liberal              22%    40%     5%    25%    27%    17%    21%
Conservative          9      4     11     12     10      8      8
About right          46     28     64     43     44     47     54
DK/NA                24     28     20     21     19     28     17
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Liberal              19%     8%    24%    22%    25%    31%    24%
Conservative         13      8      5      9      5     12      8
About right          41     68     50     42     47     34     43
DK/NA                27     16     21     26     23     23     24
 
TREND: Do you think Bob Casey Jr. is too liberal, too conservative, or about right?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16  Feb 13  Dec 13
                     2011    2010    2006    2005
 
Liberal              22      24      11      15
Conservative          9       7       7       7
About right          46      43      49      51
DK/NA                24      25      32      27
 
 
12. Do you think Bob Casey Jr. generally shares the views of Barack Obama on major issues or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  51%    53%    51%    49%    54%    48%    54%
No                   18     20     12     23     21     15     18
DK/NA                31     27     36     28     26     37     28
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                  46%    58%    50%    53%    47%    54%    48%
No                   19      7     21     21     15     19     19
DK/NA                35     35     29     26     38     27     33
 
TREND: Do you think Bob Casey Jr. generally shares the views of Barack Obama on major issues or not?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16
                     2011    2010
 
Yes                  51      50
No                   18      16
DK/NA                31      34
 
 
30. Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now,or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
                                                               Military
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Right thing          40%    55%    29%    39%    47%    32%    41%
Suld'nt be invlvd    52     36     61     54     46     57     52
DK/NA                 9      9      9      7      7     11      7
 
TREND: Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16  Jul 14
                     2011    2010    2010
 
Right thing          40      38      48
Shld not be invl     52      56      45
DK/NA                 9       6       7
 
 
31. Do you think Congress should try to repeal the new health care law, or should they let it stand?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Repeal it            48%    81%    22%    47%    54%    43%    39%
Let it stand         42     12     69     40     38     46     49
DK/NA                10      7      9     13      8     11     12
 
TREND: Do you think Congress should try to repeal the new health care law, or should they let it stand?
                     Feb 17  Dec 16
                     2011    2010
 
Repeal it            48      45
Let it stand         42      45
DK/NA                10      10