UPDATE: Let’s be honest: America has a whole slew of really bad governors right now.
There’s the conventionally bad like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, who barely survived a recall election after a sneak attack on the Badger State’s labor movement, or Florida’s Rick Scott, who even angered some in his own party when he cast aside $2.3 billion in federal high-speed rail dollars that would have boosted his state’s economy.
Somewhere lower on the spectrum, in a category of his own, is Maine’s Paul LePage, who said he wanted to “blow up” the state’s largest newspaper, called the IRS “the new Gestapo” and made a shockingly crude remark about Vaseline while a TV camera was rolling.
But you know what? Gov. Corbett wishes he were these guys right now.
Yesterday, a new survey by Public Policy Polling (PPP) confirmed what many Pennsylvanians probably already felt in their bones: That their first and possibly last-term Republican chief executive “is now the most unpopular Governor anywhere in the country that we've polled.”
Take that, newspaper-threatening, Gestapo-mongering, Vaseline-wielding Gov. LePage!
How bad is it for Tom Corbett?
It’s so bad that only 24 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of the job that he’s doing as governor (while 65 percent disapprove) – numbers that are comparable to Richard Nixon in the depths of Watergate or George W. Bush after the twin disasters of Katrina and the Iraq War.
It’s so bad that Corbett is now losing by a double-digit margin to every possible Democratic candidate that PPP polled – even though a couple of them have about as much political name recognition as the town dog-catcher…from three towns over.
It’s so bad that the former prosecutor now even has negative numbers – only 37 approve, while 51 percent disapprove – among the one group you might have expected to back Corbett’s re-election…his fellow Republicans.
OK, there’s a big caveat here, which is that PPP is a Democratic-oriented firm, but its new findings weren’t that different from a flurry of dismal polls for Corbett. With the 2014 primaries just six months away, the chances of a radical shakeup in the race increase with every sling and arrow of the incumbent’s outrageously bad numbers.
Could another Republican challenge Corbett in a primary or even push him out of the race? Why not? The PPP survey finds that while 42 percent of Republican voters would back the incumbent in a hypothetical May 2014 primary, 47 percent would prefer someone else. (Corbett does defeat two hypothetical Republican foes, Congressmen Jim Gerlach and Mike Kelly – although both were hampered with low name ID…for now.)
It’s important to remember that Corbett didn’t become America’s Most Unpopular Governor ™ overnight. It took a lot of hard work – the Latino gaffe, the ultrasound gaffe, the unemployed gaffe, the other unemployed gaffe, the alleged mishandling of the Jerry Sandusky case when he was attorney general, the failure of almost all of his legislative agenda, the Tea Party pandering, the cruel cuts to education and social-welfare programs even as billionaire frackers got favorable tax treatment, and the state’s decline from one of the highest rates of job growth in the nation to one of the worst.
It almost makes you want to move to a state where the governor has more on the ball. I hear Maine’s lovely this time of year.