National pundits call Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Tom Corbett a “dead man walking” in the 2014 election cycle, citing his underwater approval ratings, lukewarm support from some in the GOP and a large Democratic field of challengers.
But the Democrats are swimming against deep historical currents, according a new analysis of the state’s voting patterns by Smart Politics, a numbers-crunching website from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
The exception was Republican Gov. Dick Thornburgh, who clawed his way to a 2.7-percentage point victory in 1982, with Ronald Reagan in the White House.
Since 1860, Democrats have won only a single governor’s race when their own party held the White House, for a record of 1-16.
That’s a stronger streak than the famous “eight-year cycle,” in which the two parties have traded the governor’s office every eight years, going back to the post World War II era.