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Only One In Four Citizens Believes Country Headed In Right Direction, Per Franklin & Marshall College Poll With Hearst Television


52% Say the Economy and Personal Finances Are the Most Important Problems Facing Their Families

Few Feel Last Year’s Health Care Reform Produced Positive Changes in Their Own Health Care and Few Expect It to Produce Meaningful Change for Country
55% of Voters Believe Balancing the Budget Should be Top Priority; 46% Believe a Combination of Spending Cuts and Tax Increases Should be Used

LANCASTER, PA - Only 26% of Americans surveyed believe the country is “headed in the right direction,” according to the April 2011 Franklin & Marshall College National Poll, produced at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, in partnership with Hearst Television Inc.

Among the other findings:

· Not surprisingly, 52% of those polled consider the economy and personal finances to be the most important problems facing their families.

· More than one in three (36%) Americans say the current healthcare system meets their needs very well, and another two in five (43%) say it meets their needs pretty well, leaving about one in five (20%) who feel the system is not serving their personal needs. These figures remain largely unchanged since September 2009. Those over 55 years of age and residents of the Northeast are the most likely among the demographic groups to believe the system meets their needs.

· However, the cost of healthcare and availability of health insurance coverage remain significant problems for many adults. Nearly one in four (23%) adults report skipping a recommended test or medical treatment because of the cost, and one in five (20%) did not fill a medical prescription because of the cost. About one in four (26%) respondents say they were without health insurance coverage at some point during the previous 12 months; this represented an increase over the 19% of respondents who indicated they went without health insurance coverage in the February 2010 Franklin & Marshall – Hearst Television poll.

· Nearly nine in 10 respondents (85%) report the health care they receive is about the same as it was before the health care reform law passed. Three in four (74%) say the reform law has had no effect on them personally. More people believe the health care reform law will make the health care system worse (42%) than better (32%), and fewer than one in three (30%) believes the law will bring down the long-term costs of health care. Two in five (44%) believe the health care law should be repealed.

· On economic policy, a majority (55%) of registered voters believes balancing the federal budget should be the top priority of the president and Congress – though only about one in six (16%) has been following the budget debate “very closely.”

· More registered voters believe program cuts (30%) rather than tax increases (11%) should be used to balance the budget – but nearly half (46%) believes that both spending cuts and tax increases should be used.

· Registered voters have more confidence in the president’s ability to balance the budget (54% express confidence) than in Congress’s ability to do so (41% express confidence). Nevertheless, more voters disapprove (50%) than approve (43%) of the president’s handling of the economy.

· In international affairs, more voters disapprove (43%) than approve (39%) of the president’s handling of the situation in Libya.

The survey findings presented in this release are based on the results of interviews conducted April 5-25, 2011. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College under the direction of the poll’s Director, G. Terry Madonna, PhD, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost, and Senior Project Manager Angela Knittle. The survey is funded with the support from Mrs. Katherine Shadek. The data included in this release represent the responses of 800 adults in the United States, and 652 of them are registered to vote. Telephone numbers for the survey were generated using random digit dialing, and respondents were randomly selected from within each household. Survey results were weighted (age, education, race, region, and gender) using an iterative weighting algorithm. The sample error for this survey is +/- 3.2 percentage points. The sample error for registered adults is +/- 3.5 percentage points. This Franklin & Marshall College Poll was produced in partnership with Hearst Television Inc. It may be used in whole or in part, provided any use is attributed to Franklin & Marshall College.

This is the sixth national poll in a series produced at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., with Hearst Television; the partnership, whose first poll was in June 2008, was forged out of a longstanding regional relationship between Franklin & Marshall and Hearst station WGAL-TV, the NBC affiliate serving the Lancaster/Harrisburg TV market.

Complete results can be found at Readers can also follow poll director Dr. Madonna on Twitter at
Hearst Television, a national multi-media company, owns and operates 29 local television stations and two local radio stations, serving 30 U.S. cities and reaching approximately 18% of U.S. television households. The TV stations broadcast 60 video channels, featuring local and national news, weather, information, sports and entertainment programming, and local community service-oriented programs. The stations also host and operate digital on-line and mobile platforms that extend the company’s brands and content to local, national and international audiences. Hearst Television is recognized as one of the industry’s premier companies, and has been honored with numerous awards for distinguished journalism, industry innovation, and community service. Hearst Television is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Corporation. The Company’s Web address is


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