Chautauqua Women's Club

Contemporary Issues Forum

The Tipping Point State: Public Opinion and Political Preferences in Battleground Pennsylvania


Berwood Yost, Director of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College


Berwood Yost will discuss how the rearranging of ideological and partisan identities within key demographic subgroups and geographic regions in Pennsylvania have created increased polarization and intense political competition. He will show how these changes have created the conditions for competitive statewide races, particularly in races for national offices, at the same time that those changes have moved the state from Republican-leaning to Democratic-leaning. In this context, he will discuss how voters are thinking about current issues and candidates and how those beliefs may shape the outcomes of the presidential race given what is known about the state’s polarized electorate.

Speaker Bio:

Berwood Yost is the Director of the Center for Opinion Research and the Floyd Institute for Public Policy at Franklin & Marshall College. He is also the Director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, which tracks public attitudes toward public policy issues and political campaigns. His scholarship is multidisciplinary and has appeared in journals that health.

Mr. Yost frequently writes about the results and implications of political campaigns in the state and has closely followed changes within the state’s electorate. His recent work has attempted to identify ideological and partisan patterns among the state’s voters and his recent book, a co-edited volume from Temple University Press, Are All Politics Nationalized? Evidence from the 2020 Pennsylvania Campaigns, explores how political campaigns communicate with voters about the issues that are most important to them. Mr. Yost publishes a newsletter about state politics and regularly writes about state politics, polling, and public policy for a general audience. The newsletter is available at: