A recent poll conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research and sponsored by WHTM-TV/ABC27 found Pennsylvania voters want different officials to hold office in both Harrisburg and the White House.
Surveyed from Sept. 20 to 29, the pollsters asked 741 voters with active voting history via telephone if they are satisfied with the actions of President Donald Trump, Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. Participants predominantly voiced their dissatisfaction for all three politicians.
The survey was taken just short of one year after the national election for the presidency. “2016 revealed what each party really stands for,” said fourth-year English major and member of the WCU College Democrats Kinjal Shah.
53 percent of those surveyed disapproved of Trump, with 46 percent and 50 percent wanting to oust Casey, Jr. and Wolf, respectively.
An additional poll by FiveThirtyEight shows that Trump’s national disapproval rating is at 56 percent
West Chester University professor of political science Ashlie Delshad’s research interest is U.S. public policy and sustainability. Pertaining to the Pennsylvania electorate, Delshad said, “If there is a displeasure with the current administration, there is a shift in attitudes in response to the following election. I think the most interesting fact in the Pennsylvania context is when we are thinking about the Executive level . . . we have a Republican candidate and at the gubernatorial level we have a Democratic candidate, so I think it is interesting that we have seemingly low levels of displeasure of both parties at both the state and Federal level.”
Delshad went on to say, “I think that is something unique. We don’t necessarily see a shift in a partisan direction but a partisan split. I think that will hold some interesting implications for what we see happen at both the Congressional level next year as well as the gubernatorial level.”
50 percent of those surveyed wish to replace Wolf during his impending reelection bid in 2018. GOP opposition is beginning its foundational campaign work now. With 47 percent of the data set self-identifying as Democrat, political analysts wish to determine the reasoning for this finding.
“Wolf is a dull candidate,” stated Delshad.
“He has trouble connecting with a Commonwealth that so generously supported Trump, whose character and public behavior is almost opposite of what Wolf embodies,” Delshad said.
In addition, Pennsylvanians want, “a legislature that will function,” said WCU political science major and president of WCU’s College Democrats, Kevin Carson. “The split leadership between a Republican Assembly and a Democratic Governor is leading to nothing but deadlock, and Pennsylvanians are sick of what has now become another year with a delayed budget passage,” Carson said.
Wolf’s predecessor, Republican and former Attorney General Tom Corbett was the first incumbent to lose his gubernatorial re-election bid in decades. If this poll and recent precedent are any sort of signifiers, perhaps 2018 could mirror 2014’s upheaval of the Corbett administration.
Specifically in Pennsylvania, “it seems like  might be more of an incumbent vs. challenger election where there are people who are more interested in change, regardless of party,” said Delshad. On the other hand, federally speaking, Trump is the first Republican Presidential nominee to win the Commonwealth in over 20 years.
Carson says at the end of the day, it is all rooted in the voter’s pursuit of “anti-establishment,” highlighting the joblessness and desperation in the more rusty parts of Pennsylvania, specifically the coal regions. He noted how many Pennsylvanians “left the Democratic party to vote for Trump. Since 1958, Luzerne County has held double digit leads over the GOP. That changed with Trump.”
The West Chester University College Republicans could not be reached for comment.
One thing Delshad, Carson and Shah all highlighted was the electorate’s longing for change. Shah hopes the wave of interest created at the peak of the 2016 Presidential election cycle continues pushing onward, as constituents can always “do more to encourage collective action.”
Carson asserts that West Chester students should answer to their civic duty and get involved, because “local issues matter, too! After all, West Chester is our home for four years.”
Amanda Mills is a fourth-year student majoring in political science with minors in Spanish and communication studies. She can be reached at AM836938@wcupa.edu.