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Midterms 2022: Here are the issues Pennsylvania voters care about the most

As the country inches closer toward Election Day, voters are homing in on specific issues that may decide the fate of Congress in November.

The Washington Examiner is tracking which issues are on the top of voters’ minds as they prepare to head to the polls, particularly in key battleground states that could bring a shift in power to the federal government. Specifically, we’re tracking how voters are researching our top five issues, abortion , crime , education , inflation , and taxes , and how these interests fluctuate as we get closer to Election Day.


Below, you can track the interest of each of our key issues on a rolling 30-day basis in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. The Washington Examiner will be updating this page as interests and voting concerns change.

Key races we’re watching in the state: 

Pennsylvania is poised to be one of the most highly watched states on Nov. 8 as voters decide their future in the Senate, the governor’s mansion, and the attorney general’s office.

Most notably, Pennsylvania voters will head to the polls to elect a new senator in a race that is likely to determine which party will maintain control of the Senate for the next two years. Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will face Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz in a highly contentious race that has big implications for the blue state.

Further down the ballot is the governor’s race, which could have an impact on how presidential elections are held in the state — especially after claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020 that Trump allies claim are responsible for the former president’s loss. Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro will face Republican Doug Mastriano to fill the seat of outgoing Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.


At the top of Pennsylvania voters’ minds as of Sept. 2 is education, according to internet searches recorded and analyzed by Google Trends.

Education emerged as a top issue among Pennsylvania voters over the last month, spiking in mid-August as the new school year began. Republican candidates have especially leaned in on education, emphasizing curriculum transparency and parent choice as focal points in their campaigns.

State lawmakers already advanced legislation late last year that would have required schools to publish curriculum materials on their public websites to prevent controversial topics from being discussed in the classroom. However, that bill was later vetoed by Wolf , who called it a “thinly veiled attempt to restrict truthful instruction and censor content reflecting various cultures, identities, and experiences.”

Google searches regarding education have begun to taper off near the beginning of September, likely reflecting how it spiked due to the first day of school in mid-August.


Taxes emerged as another top concern among Pennsylvania voters over the last month, becoming the second-most researched topic as of Sept. 2.

Searches for tax bracket queries spiked on Aug. 24, likely coinciding with President Joe Biden’s student loan plan announcement providing relief to up to 43 million borrowers. The forgiveness plan described parameters for who would be eligible for student loan cancellation, noting borrowers will need to earn under $125,000 individually or $250,000 as a household.


Crime has long been a focal point in the midterm elections as crime rates have risen exponentially nationwide over the last two years.

It has taken center stage in the Pennsylvania Senate race, and Fetterman and Oz both knocked each other for their proposed solutions to the growing crime rates in the state. Republicans have specifically criticized Fetterman for his support of proposals that would allow some inmates to be released from prison or receive more lenient sentencing — accusing the Democrat of being soft on crime.

Fetterman fired back, pointing to his experience as mayor of Braddock, arguing Oz “wouldn’t last two hours here,” he said in a TV ad . “We did whatever it took to fund our police and stopped gun deaths for five years.”


Despite being the top concern at the beginning of August, inflation has fallen to be one of voters’ least important priorities as of Sept. 2. 

Google searches related to inflation peaked on Aug. 8, likely due to increased media coverage of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act that passed just days later on Aug. 15 and was signed by the president on Aug. 19. Inflation then became one of the least researched topics, alternating with abortion as one of the least-researched voter issues for the month of August.

Republicans have long focused on inflation as a key voter issue in the midterm election cycle, pointing to soaring inflation rates under Biden. However, inflation has become less of a concern, offering Democrats relief and posing challenges to Republicans as they formulate new strategies.


Abortion emerged as a key voter issue shortly after the Supreme Court announced its decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, ending nationwide access to abortions and instead returning the decision of its legality to the states.


Republicans in Pennsylvania have especially found themselves on the defensive after the Supreme Court decision was released, with several candidates reversing or clarifying previous anti-abortion comments to broaden their base.

Oz’s position on abortion has especially come under scrutiny, and the Republican often describes himself as “pro-life” with exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. However, the Trump-backed candidate came under fire after a 2019 interview resurfaced in which Oz expressed “politically pro-choice” viewpoints, according to the Daily Beast.

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