Slightly more than half of the state’s voters blame the Republican-dominated state legislature for the months-long budget fight in Harrisburg, according to a new poll by Franklin and Marshall College.
But pollsters at the school point out that when asked who they trust to solve the state’s budget problems, registered voters give only a slight nod to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf over the legislature by a margin of 43 to 38.
Wolf and the GOP have been locked in a budget stalemate since July when the governor vetoed the GOP’s entire $30 billion spending proposal. Wolf, who ran for office amid huge dissatisfaction with predecessor Tom Corbett’s cuts to education spending wants big increases on school spending.
But the stalemate has left non-profits dependent on state funding in the lurch. School districts across the state have announced they are set to borrow hundreds of millions to cover the gap — a move that could cost them millions in interest payments.
According to the poll, 71 percent of voters supported increased taxes on loose tobacco, 67 percent supported increased taxes on natural gas. Perhaps predictably, voters were less supportive of tax increases that they might have to pay for. Only one in three supported an increased sales tax and one in four supported an increase to the state income tax.
The poll surveyed 614 people between Oct. 19 and Oct.25, so it doesn’t include impressions from Wednesday’s Republican debates.
The results showed Donald Trump holding a slight lead in the state over neurosurgeon Ben Carson by a margin of 23 percent to 22 percent — a result that is within the margin of error.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio polls at 13 percent. While Jeb Bush gots the support of 3 percent of voters surveyed.
On the Democractic side of the ticket, Hillary Clinton had the support of 52 percent of voters, while Bernie Sanders polled at 18 percent.