Poll: Close contest in Pennsylvania
August 16th, 2012
12:46 PM ET
8 years ago

Poll: Close contest in Pennsylvania

(CNN) - Mitt Romney hopes this November to do what no Republican has done in 24 years: win Pennsylvania in a presidential election.

And a new survey released Thursday suggests the race for the state's 20 electoral votes is tightening up.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

According to a Franklin and Marshall College poll released Thursday, 44% of Keystone State registered voters back President Barack Obama, with 38% backing the Republican challenger, and a high 15% undecided. The president's six-point advantage is within the survey's sampling error and is down from a 12 point 48%-36% lead for Obama over the former Massachusetts governor in Franklin and Marshall's poll conducted in early June.

If you factor in undecided voters who are leaning towards one candidate or another, the president holds a 47%-42% advantage, down from a 14-point 51%-37% lead in the last Franklin and Marshall poll.

The survey was conducted August 7-12, four days before and two days after Romney's announcement of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate. Franklin and Marshall polling director Terry Madonna said he sees no evidence that the choice of Ryan changed the results.

The survey also indicates that Obama has a nearly two to one margin over Romney among Pennsylvania voters when it comes to which candidate better understands the concerns of ordinary Americans. On the economy, Romney holds a 44%-42% edge. Obama had a six point advantage on that question in the June survey.

"Romney has done better because voters in Pennsylvania now feel that Romney can better handle the economy than the president," Madonna told CNN. "But Romney still hasn't made the sale in Pennsylvania."

According to the poll, Obama has a 46%-45% favorable/unfavorable rating, little changed from June. Romney has a 32%-49% favorable/unfavorable rating, with his favorable numbers jumping five points from two months ago.

Vice President George H.W. Bush was the last Republican to win Pennsylvania, taking the state over Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 election. The state was a battleground in the following presidential cycles, but four years ago then-Sen. Barack Obama topped Sen. John McCain by 10 points in Pennsylvania. But Republicans stormed back in the 2010 midterm elections, capturing the governor's office, a U.S. Senate seat, and five House seats from the Democrats.

A Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll conducted late last month had Obama holding a 53%-42% lead in the Keystone State.

The Franklin and Marshall College poll was conducted by telephone, with 681 registered voters in Pennsylvania questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    Cry Babies

    Can anybody draw me a picture as to why it is so difficult to obtain a legitimate ID to vote. EVERYONE in this country SHOULD have it. As important as voting is, even though many choose to sit at home watching soaps or down beers at the local tavern, it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a rational reason, not some biased based, paranoid monologue of why it subverts the will of the people.

    Surprisingly, I agree with most of what you said as far as PA is concerned not OH, (except for very elderly and handicapped people). However, where was this "fake concern" in prior elections?

    August 16, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Palin Power

    This is a clear sign that Sarah Palin will be our next President. She will flip several hard blue states red including CA, WA, OR, NY, PA, etc.

    August 16, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. For America

    Glad to see that PA is seeing the light and saying no to four more years of Obama's disappointing four years.

    August 16, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. myviewis

    Wake up People!

    Of course he will win Pa and many more by suppressing the right of many to vote

    How exactly is this done, suppressing the right of many to vote????? I.D. is required for Medicaid, Social Security, Welfare, College, cigarettes, liquor, clinics. How do Americans get by with no ID if they are on food stamps, welfare checks?????????? This is such nonsense, a gimmick that ID's are not obtained by the minorities, lower incomes.

    August 16, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. myviewis

    Since the Republicans are obviously trying to suppress the vote of older citizens and minorities who might have good indentification but not just the ones with pictures,

    What?????? how do these older citizens and minorities get their government aid if they can't confirm who they are????

    August 16, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. 2012liberal

    Only way republican win is 2 lie cheat and steal. Some america we live in.

    August 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. scott

    I think the reason the race is getting closer, is more and more people have seen the destruction of this country at the hands of Obama and his democratic goons. Romney/Ryan represent all that is good about America, they will improve this country.

    August 16, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. rla

    It is a wonder these progressives can get out of bed in the morning!! Making voter fraud harder and insuring MY vote is bad???? BUT bankrupting Medicare is good, putting 30 million people on the health roles with the same number of doctors -many will not take medicade patients anymore seems to be a good thing and the list goes on

    August 16, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "What?????? how do these older citizens and minorities get their government aid if they can't confirm who they are????'

    With a different form of ID than is acceptable under the Voter ID law and was specifically excluded from it in order to create that problem.

    August 16, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. John,PA

    Romney is going to blow out Obama in Pennsylvania. As a resident of Pennsylvania and living with, see the devastation the Obama policies have caused in our state. The working people and seniors Pennsylvania won’t be “Weinered" by Obama this time. The 2012 election is going to be a massacre for Democrats based on the economy; job market; housing market; 5 straight years of $1 Trillion deficits; the Obama policies and administration FAILURES!

    August 16, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Cry Babies

    @ WIC....I don't think its "fake" . I do know circumstances in the last decade have pushed this problem to the surface. Here in Washington state we've seen various situations showing non existent or dead people voting. Now when it comes down to 100 or 200 votes deciding an election( like it did in our 2004 governors race), questions are going to be raised and magnified. I assume that one of the driving suspicions of the recent movement has to do with the reported attempts by ACORN and similar groups to sign up voters. Whether true or false , where theirs smoke, theirs fire. Why not be cognizant of the potential problem and do our best as a country to eliminate the potential ?

    August 16, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
1 2