02/28/2007 - The new IssuesPA/Pew Benchmark and Legislator Survey shows that after a turbulent year statewide between state elected officials and the electorate, the public as a whole seems ready to wipe the slate clean and start anew. Seventy-two percent of residents say they have a lot or some confidence in Governor Edward G. Rendell. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Pennsylvanians polled have a lot or some confidence in the legislature as a whole. This is up from 48 percent in November 2005 and may be a result of the election that swept in many new legislators who ran on a reform agenda.
While the public has confidence in state government, they do not necessarily see eye to eye with the legislature on what should be the state’s top priorities. While the legislature is focused on two top priorities that emerge among all the possible issues – property tax reform (46%) and health care reform (41%), Pennsylvanians have a longer list of items on their legislative priority lists, including healthcare (24%), jobs (18%), education (15%), taxes generally (13%), property taxes specifically (11%), and crime (10%). Other priorities for legislators include government/legislative reform (21 percent), budget/spending level (15 percent) and infrastructure (14 percent).
The poll also shows that 60 percent of Pennsylvanians are satisfied with the direction of the state, showing a level of satisfaction that is higher than any other in nearly five years of IssuesPA/Pew polling. Only 32 percent of respondents say they are dissatisfied. This shows a significant change in attitude since September 2006, when only 51 percent of residents were satisfied and 43 percent were dissatisfied.
The upbeat mood in Pennsylvania contrasts with a sober national mood. A survey conducted by PSRAI in for Newsweek in late January found only 30 percent of adults nationally saying they were satisfied with the direction of the country. Much of the negative view nationally is likely the result of the Iraq war and perceptions of presidential leadership.
Read the full survey Pennsylvanians Express High Levels of Confidence in State Elected Officials on the IssuesPA Web site.