Most Pennsylvania voters believe that the current system for drawing the state’s political maps is partisan, a new poll finds, with about two out of three saying legislative lines should be drawn by an independent commission.
That’s about the same as in June 2018, suggesting public sentiment against gerrymandering has remained high even as the issue has moved from center stage.
Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the state’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, saying it was so skewed toward Republicans as to violate the state constitution. The court later redrew the map.
Since then, the issue of how legislative lines are drawn has remained the subject of news coverage and political debate, and advocacy groups have continued to push for reform in Harrisburg and across the country.
Fair Districts PA has led the charge in the state, along with the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (the original plaintiff in the lawsuit that overturned the congressional map) and a coalition of other groups. Fair Districts and the league commissioned the new poll, which was conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College.
Pollsters interviewed 901 registered voters — 426 Democrats, 353 Republicans, and 122 independent or unaffiliated voters — from Aug. 20 through Sept. 10 by phone and online. The results were then weighted by age, gender, education, and party registration to reflect the makeup of the electorate in the 2018 midterm election.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points, meaning the survey respondents’ answers should fall within 5.6 points of the “real” views of the entire electorate. For example, 75% of respondents agreeing with a statement means that between 69.4% and 80.6% of voters overall agree with that statement.
Of course, there are other possible reasons for error, such as the design of questions influencing how voters respond. As with any poll, this survey reflects attitudes in a particular moment of time.