MCAP poll shows Obama leading Pa.

With the 2012 election only a few weeks away, Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP) has just released its first Public Opinion Poll of the academic year.

With questions involving the upcoming presidential election, Senate elections, Pennsylvania voter law, religion and several other topics, MCAP produced itsresults without bias or issues.

MCAP began operations in July 2010. Inspired by the mission of Mercyhurst and guided by the college’s core values, the center promotes reasoned discourse about problems facing communities, states and nations.

The most recent survey included polling 522 registered voters from Sept. 12-20 by approximately 70 students in the new MCAP offices in the Center for Academic Engagment.
Some of the released information regarding the presidential election included that among those who say they will vote for Obama, 63 percent say they strongly support him; 17 percent indicate their vote is because they oppose Mitt Romney.

Among those who will vote for Romney, 43 percent say they strongly support him; 39 percent indicate they are voting for Romney because they oppose Obama. This suggests that more of Romney’s support may be the result of voters’ dissatisfaction with Obama than satisfaction with Romney.

The poll’s margin of error ended up being 4.29 percent.

“I think our numbers for Obama and Romney in Pennsylvania reflect what’s really going on,” said MCAP Director Joseph Morris, Ph.D. “Barack Obama is in a good position in the state, but the race isn’t over.”

Rolfe Peterson, Ph.D., methodologist for MCAP, said, “If you look at, our estimate of 48 percent Obama and 40 percent Romney matches up very closely with what they have with 49 percent for Obama and 41 percent Romney. This was very pleasing because if our results matched with well-known political polls, then we know we did something right.”

Another topic for this poll was the voter ID law issue. While majorities of registered voters favor voter ID laws, views on their merits vary dramatically by the individual’s partisanship.

According to the Mercyhurst University news release, Morris noted that “this year’s presidential debates are going to be pivotal. They will provide Barack Obama with the opportunity to remind people why they voted for him four years ago, and offer Mitt Romney the chance to show that he has what it takes to be president. In a close election like this one, good debate performances may be the difference between winning and losing.”

MCAP plans to conduct more polls throughout the academic year, with topics such as Senate elections and more public opinion issues to be discussed.

For more information regarding the survey results, the full released document of results, including the questions used, is available online for public access.