survey governor shapiro voters

Commonwealth Foundation Survey Finds Voters Struggling to Pinpoint Governor Shapiro’s Successes

Harrisburg, Pa., December 19, 2023 — When asked to list significant accomplishments by Gov. Josh Shapiro, 61 percent of Pennsylvania voters either stated he had not (36 percent) or were unsure if he had (25 percent), according to a new statewide poll released today by the Commonwealth Foundation. The quarterly “Common Ground in the Commonwealth” poll gauges Pennsylvanians’ pulse on the state’s critical issues.

Most voters (55 percent) said Pennsylvania is on the wrong track—up from 51 percent last quarter. More than half of 18- to 29-year-olds (52 percent) have considered leaving the state or know someone who has. The top three reasons voters are considering leaving Pennsylvania are all economic, with respondents seeking a lower cost of living (51 percent), fewer taxes (41 percent), and better job opportunities (34 percent).

Inflation and the cost of living continue to top the list of important problems facing Pennsylvanians. Similarly, by a nearly two-to-one margin, voters are more concerned about rising energy costs rather than the environmental consequences of energy production and exploration. More than 70 percent said their household electric bills have increased. Regarding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), most voters (72 percent) are unfamiliar with the program; however, after learning more about RGGI, opposition increased to 71 percent.

These concerns impact family decisions, including holiday shopping. Nearly half (45 percent) of survey participants said they will spend less than in previous years on holiday shopping.

Regarding the 2024 presidential election, voters almost equally dislike Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. The survey found that 47 percent of respondents expressed unwillingness to vote for Trump and 46 percent for Biden in a general election. Among Democrats, 15 percent would decline to vote for Biden, and 18 percent of Republican voters would reject Trump. 

“Pennsylvania is going to play an outsized role in determining our next president and which party controls the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives,” said Jennifer Stefano, executive vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation. “The Commonwealth Foundation does not engage in elections but we do elevate the issues people care about. What happens in Pennsylvania during the next ten months will determine the future of our nation. And one thing is certain: The vast majority of Pennsylvania voters (91 percent) want Pennsylvania leaders—Republicans and Democrats—to work together to make Pennsylvania a better place to live.”

Additional Findings

Bidenomics: 63 percent of voters stated that Bidenomics has worsened or had no effect on economic conditions in Pennsylvania.

Holiday Cheer: Contrary to the belief that political disagreements often disrupt holiday dinners, 84 percent of respondents reported that political disputes have never affected their family holidays. Additionally, only 22 percent admitted to blocking or being blocked by a close friend or family member on social media due to political differences.

Flyers vs. Penguins: Regarding the overall favorability of Pennsylvania hockey teams, the Philadelphia Flyers (55 percent) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (54 percent) are in a virtual dead heat. 

All four Common Ground surveys for 2023 are available here.


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