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RMU Poll: As Budget Impasse Continues, Wolf Ratings Down, Still Above Numbers for State Legislature

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

PITTSBURGH, October 26, 2015 — Pennsylvania’s budget impasse, now nearing the 120-day mark, appears to be taking a toll on Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, whose approval ratings have dropped below 50 percent, according to a poll by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute. 

The poll, conducted earlier this month, found Wolf with a favorability rating of 49.3 percent among 523 Pennsylvania residents surveyed in mid-October. Eight months ago, the same poll found Wolf with favorability ratings of 56.7 percent.

“With the protracted budget fight, this is not surprising,” said RMU political science Professor Philip Harold. “The real surprise is that his numbers are still so high.” 

Harold said Wolf’s highest ratings come from those identifying as Democrats as well as upper-income persons with college degrees.

Among households earning more than $75,000, Wolf still registers a 56.4 percent favorable rating. Those with college degrees still approve of the governor’s performance by 48.5 percent.

Harold also cautioned that Wolf’s approval with Democrats is still “soft,” noting that only 11.3 percent of Democrats say they have a “very favorable” opinion of the governor.

The General Assembly continues to receive a low favorability rating from Pennsylvania residents, with only 35.8 of those surveyed saying they approve of the job the legislature is doing. Its unfavorable rating was 48.6 percent.

Harold cautioned that the legislature’s low rating is not much of a bright spot for the governor. The 35.8 percent favorability rating, Harold said, “is higher than the number the Pennsylvania legislature typically gets when respondents are asked if it is doing a good job.” He said that Wolf’s higher standing reflects a governor’s ability to deliver a coherent message and image as opposed to a politically divided General Assembly.

ABOUT THE POLL: The poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute. 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 523 Pennsylvania residents statewide during the same time period and employing the same methodology. The Pennsylvania results have a +/- 4.5-percentage point 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 47 states and 39 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