New poll reveals Allegheny County voters most concerned about crime and public safety

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September 12, 2023

New poll reveals Allegheny County voters most concerned about crime and public safety
Voters generally pessimistic about the economy

PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County voters believe that public safety is the most critical problem facing the county and should be the top priority for the new County Executive, according to a new poll conducted for Pittsburgh Works Together.

Residents also see a gloomy economy, with nearly two-thirds of registered voters saying the Allegheny County economy is “only fair” or “poor,” and four-in-ten saying they expect it to get worse in the next year.

“Only a minority of voters think the county is going in the right direction. And the pessimism about public safety and a gloomy economy seems to have grown throughout the year,” said Jeff Nobers, executive director for Pittsburgh Works, a business-organized labor alliance focused on improving economic opportunity in the region.

The poll was conducted as part of Pittsburgh Works' “Our County. Your Vote. Allegheny’s Future” initiative to highlight critical issues in the Allegheny County Executive race (https://pghworks.com/alleghenys-future/).

By design, the poll did not ask voters whether they preferred Sara Innamorato or Joe Rockey in the November 7 County Executive race.

“The issues are more important than horserace gossip. These are the challenges that the next county executive will have to face, regardless of who wins,” Nobers said. “The two candidates have very different approaches to the future. We encourage voters to learn about their proposed solutions, decide which make the most sense, and vote accordingly.

Rockey and Innamorato’s views on jobs, energy, and the economy can be found in a 21-minute video on the Allegheny’s Future web page and in a candidate questionnaire conducted by Pittsburgh Works.

Registered voters are split 46%-46% when asked: “Would you say that things in Allegheny County are going in the right direction or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?” When likely primary voters were asked the same question in March for an earlier Pittsburgh Works poll, 54% said “right direction” and 38% said “wrong track.”

In this new poll, 35% of registered voters considered the Allegheny County economy “excellent/good” and 65% said “fair/poor,” with 40% saying they expect the economy to get worse over the next year.

Against that backdrop, 84% of registered voters “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the next County Executive taking action to support the operation of U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works complex, which employs more than 3,000 workers, supports thousands more jobs in the region, and supplies nearly $5 billion to the regional economy. At the same time, by a 54%-44% majority, voters believe the next County Executive should not ban natural gas drilling in Allegheny County.

“To govern effectively, the next Allegheny County Executive needs to understand priorities that Allegheny County residents have, and not just listen to the vocal minorities at either end of the political spectrum,” said Pittsburgh Works co-chair Tom Melcher, business manager of the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council. “We care about this county and region and hope the findings of voters’ greatest concerns can help candidates and the media stay focused on those issues during this important election campaign.”

The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, which surveyed 400 registered voters in Allegheny County from Sept. 5-7. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

Pittsburgh Works Together is a business-organized labor-workforce-economic development alliance working to grow jobs and expand the industries that are the foundation of our economy, including energy, manufacturing, and construction, to provide opportunity for all residents.

What would you say is the most important problem facing Allegheny County today, that is, the one that you, yourself, are most concerned about? (open-ended)*

Crime/Public Safety

43%

Growth/Infrastructure

18%

Economy

17%

Homelessness

12%

Taxes

11%

Affordable Housing

10%

Environment

5%

Health Issues

3%

Other (All responses 4% or lower)

28%

*Adds up to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer.

Which one of the following should be the top priority for the next Allegheny County Executive? (close-ended)

Crime & public safety

22%

Inflation & rising prices

15%

Affordable housing

12%

Gun control

10%

Jobs & the economy

8%

Homelessness

8%

Economic & racial justice

7%

Quality of life

6%

Education

5%

Climate change & the environment

4%

Ban fracking

1%

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Jeff Nobers | Executive Director | Jeff@pghworks.com
Ken Zapiniski | Director of Research and Public Policy | ken@pghworks.com
General Inquires: info@pghworks.com

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