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Poll: Economy squeezing Shapiro’s popularity

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(The Center Square) — Gov. Josh Shapiro still has a good favorability rating, but the public has started to give him less leeway, according to a new poll.

A more negative view of the economy could be catching up to him.

The Commonwealth Foundation released its latest quarterly survey on politics and economics as seen by Pennsylvanians, with more people less sure about Shapiro.

Though 56% of respondents still approve of Shapiro’s performance, it’s a drop from Commonwealth’s poll last quarter when he had a 61% approval rating. Disapproval crept up by one percentage point to 30%, while the percentage of respondents who were unsure went from 10% to 14%.

“It raises the question of whether the governor’s honeymoon phase is officially coming to an end,” said Jennifer Stefano, executive vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation. “The fundamental problem we see is voters are struggling to identify Shapiro’s major accomplishments; 61% saying either he hasn’t delivered any or they’re just unsure of what he’s doing.”

The governor, for his part, has sent a flurry of press releases in recent days to highlight his accomplishments over the last year, with a focus on reforming the business permitting process, getting more funding for

Shapiro’s ratings may be tied to voters’ uncertainty about the economy.

“These numbers show that Pennsylvanians are still seriously concerned about the direction of the state, its economy, and energy costs,” Stefano said. “They aren’t really buying into the messages of their political leaders, either.”

The economy, the survey shows, remains a high priority. Of the most important problems that respondents warned about, four of the five were pocketbook issues: inflation and the cost of living, the Pennsylvania economy in general, taxes, and wages/salary/pay inequality. Only crime registered as a non-economic complaint.

A strong majority, 66%, of voters had a negative view of economic conditions in the commonwealth, a three-percentage-point rise compared to the Commonwealth Foundation’s survey last quarter, and only 11% said they and their family were financially better off now than two years ago.

Residents seem to be voting with their feet as Pennsylvania’s population struggles to grow.

“Pennsylvania has an aging population while losing (its) working-age population,” said Nathan Benefield, senior vice president at the Commonwealth Foundation. “That’s gonna be bad for our state’s economy, bad for our tax base — while we’ll see increased social services costs. That has huge implications for our state’s budget.”

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