inflation poll pennsylvania

Commonwealth Foundation Survey Finds Voters Are Clear: “It’s the Economy, Stupid”

Harrisburg, Pa., September 28, 2023—Inflation continues to be the number one problem facing Pennsylvania voters, according to a poll released today by the Commonwealth Foundation. The Common Ground in the Commonwealth poll, conducted quarterly, measures Pennsylvania’s pulse on critical issues facing the state. 

The survey found that voters across the political spectrum view Pennsylvania’s economy negatively and believe the state’s economic conditions are worsening. More than two-thirds said inflation has impacted them, inhibiting their ability to maintain their standard of living.

Four-in-ten voters said they or someone they know have considered moving or have moved to another state, citing “lower cost of living,” “lower taxes,” and “better jobs and opportunities” as principal reasons. 

“Despite President Biden’s claims that our economy has bounced back, Pennsylvanians remain deeply concerned about their financial well-being and economic future,” said Jennifer Stefano, Commonwealth Foundation executive vice president. “When evaluating candidates for state and federal offices, Pennsylvanians will seek policies that promise relief from inflation and a path toward a more economically secure future.” 

Despite strong economic concerns, Gov. Josh Shapiro’s favorability remains high at 62 percent—the only major statewide elected official with a favorability over 50 percent. 

Voters attribute responsibility for the budget impasse to multiple parties, including the governor, the state House, and the state Senate. But they also value bipartisanship, with more than 90 percent saying that leaders in Pennsylvania of all political parties should come together to pass a budget agreement. Ultimately, 44 percent believe the final responsibility for finishing the state budget rests with Gov. Shapiro.

“Most importantly, a strong majority of Pennsylvanians – especially Democrats and Independents – are calling on Shapiro to honor the deal he made with Senate Republicans by including Lifeline/PASS Scholarships in the pending fiscal code bills required to finalize the state budget,” Stefano said.


U.S. Senate:  Incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. leads among candidates that voters would like to see run for the U.S. Senate with 38 percent, followed by David McCormick with 20 percent. However, the combined total of all Republican candidates adds up to 38 percent, suggesting a competitive race ahead. 

Presidential: Donald Trump remains in the lead, with 31 percent, among the candidates that voters want to seek the presidency in 2024. Biden is at 28 percent, and DeSantis is at 21 percent. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. draws 19 percent. Vivek Ramaswamy has surged to 19 percent (compared to 10 percent in the Q2 poll) and Nikki Haley to 17 percent (compared to 13 percent in Q2). However, Trump, at 39 percent, and President Biden, at 22 percent, top the list of candidates that voters would most like to leave the presidential race. 

State Supreme Court:  42 percent expressed support for Daniel McCaffery (D) in the upcoming State Supreme Court election, followed by 36 percent for Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio (R), and 22 percent were unsure who they would support.

PA Primary: 46 percent support moving Pennsylvania’s presidential primary election from April to March, with 14 percent opposing. 

Voter ID: On the heels of Gov. Shapiro’s automatic voter enrollment announcement, 66 percent of voters believe he should support legislation to require voter identification.

Eagles / Steelers:On a lighter note, in addition to tracking questions about state and federal officeholders and key institutions, the survey asked favorable/unfavorable ratings for the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a close call: the Eagles with 66 percent favorable / 23 percent unfavorable and the Steelers with 64 percent favorable / 26 percent unfavorable. 

Additional information about Commonwealth Foundation quarterly surveys can be found here.


The Commonwealth Foundation turns free-market ideas into public policies, fostering prosperity for all Pennsylvanians.