Associated Press reporter Martha Raffaele reports:
Many Pennsylvania voters say the declining economy has put a squeeze on their pocketbooks, but a majority expect the situation to improve by the time President-elect Barack Obama finishes four years in the White House, according to a poll released today.
About half of all voters surveyed said they were worse off financially now than a year ago, the poll by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University found. Twenty-three percent said they were better off, and 22 percent reported no
change. Although 62 percent of the respondents said they expect the economy to improve by the end of Obama’s term, voters were less sure about his administration’s ability to solve the nation’s economic crisis. About half
said they thought the Obama administration could do so, while nearly 40 percent said no.
“It’s all related to the fact that (voters) don’t think it’s going to be fixed quickly, and they don’t think Obama can do it by himself,” said Clay Richards, assistant director of the university’s polling institute. “Generally, I would say there is optimism that Obama can do the job.”
Fifty-three percent said the economy is the most important problem facing the state. While voters gave Gov. Ed Rendell a 55 percent overall job approval rating, only 42 percent said they approved of the way he is handling the
current economic situation. Thirty-eight percent disapproved of the Democrat’s handling of the economy, and one in five were undecided, according to the telephone survey of 1,487 voters.
Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo noted that governors have only a “limited influence” on the economy, and all states are affected by the national downturn. “If the public wants to lay blame, they need to direct it toward
Washington,” Ardo said.