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Wolf Enjoys Strong Support

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pittsburgh As he unveils his first proposed state budget, Gov. Tom Wolf enjoys a healthy 56.7 percent approval rating among Pennsylvanians, according to a survey by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media.

One political scientist says the new governor, a Democrat, will need this sort of political capital in the coming months, as he hammers out a state budget with a general assembly in which both chambers are under Republican control.

“With the state facing a $2 billion budget deficit, these high poll numbers will not last,” said RMU political science professor Philip Harold. “If Gov. Wolf wants to enact change in Pennsylvania, it has to be now.  Any changes enacted now will give the governor time before the next election to show that his policies are starting to work.”

The governor is expected to unveil a budget that calls for increases in the state’s personal income tax, a hike of nearly one percent in the sales tax, and an array of measures to increase state spending on education. If adopted, it could mark the largest increase in taxes since 1991.

The RMU poll found that 19.5 percent of Pennsylvanians surveyed held “very favorable” views of Gov. Wolf, while an additional 37.2 percent described their opinion as “somewhat favorable.” 20.5 percent of those surveyed described their feelings as either “somewhat” or “very” unfavorable. Another 22.8 percent of those surveyed described themselves as unsure in their views of the new governor.

Harold noted that the demographic most skeptical of Wolf was seniors, who nevertheless held a favorable impression of the new governor by a 48-35 percent margin.

The poll was conducted Feb. 11-20, and surveyed 508 Pennsylvania residents age 18 and older. It has a margin of error of 4.5 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent. It was conducted alongside a nationwide RMU/Trib Total Media poll on an array of issues.

Of respondents who identified their party affiliations, 35.6 consider themselves Republican, 42.1 percent Democrat and another 13.6 percent identified as independents.


ABOUT THE POLL: The poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media. Polling by the Institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events. RMU polls have been featured in national media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and Huffington Post. Go to for more information.


METHODOLOGY: The poll sampled opinions of 508 Pennsylvanians Feb. 11-20, 2015. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 4.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.

ABOUT ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Through 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa., works to change its students' lives so that they can go out and change the lives of others for the better. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate, nontraditional and online students from 37 states and 37 nations are enrolled at RMU, which sits on 230 scenic acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Emphasizing experiential learning, Robert Morris focuses on professional development, service learning, global awareness, undergraduate research, campus leadership, and cultural experiences, all of which are documented on our innovative Student Engagement Transcript. More than 100 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally, and meet friends. RMU also has 16 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse. Learn more at

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