Saturday, November 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 1:49 PM

The nerds are rankled by the disrespect shown to science in politics, and they’re fighting back.

Shaughnessy Naughton, a chemist who lost a close Democratic primary race for U.S. House this spring in PA-08, announced Monday the formation of 314 PAC, designed to help recruit, train and elect Democratic candidates who have backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math. “Nothing in our constitution says we have to be governed by lawyers,” Naughton said.

She said it is no longer enough for various professional scientific societies to speak in general bipartisan terms because of the “anti-science rhetoric we hear out of the Republican side,” such as denying the existence of global climate change.

In addition, Naughton said, federal funding for research is declining.
POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 11:21 AM

Pennsylvania Working Families, a new liberal group with ties to organized labor, on Tuesday endorsed Democrat Tom Wolf for governor, saying he would increase state education funding and push for an increase in the minimum wage.

“We believe Tom Wolf can and will restore our great commonwealth,” said Chris Woods, executive vice president for District 1119C, of the health-care workers’ union.

The group is targeting its voter-outreach around the minimum-wage issue. Wolf has said he supports hiking the wage to $10.10 an hour, while Gov.  Corbett has expressed concern that an increase would slow hiring and hurt the economy.

POSTED: Monday, September 8, 2014, 7:50 AM
A dispute over the ownership of mineral rights could determine who would profit from drilling operations similar to this well in Loyalsock State Forest. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)

A majority of Pennsylvanians, 54 percent, support the extraction of shale natural gas, while just 29 percent of New Yorkers do, according to a new University of Michigan poll of two states that share a chunk of the massive Marcellus Shale deposit.

Despite positive views of hydraulic fracking for shale gas in their state, 47 percent of Pennsylvanians disapprove of the way Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is handling the issue, compared to 19 percent who approve – likely a factor in his troubled re-election campaign.

“Some of it is a reflection of generally negative views about Tom Corbett right now,” said pollster Christopher Borick of Muhlenberg College, who conducted the survey. “But his handling of the issue has been politically questionable in a lot of ways. Clearly he has paid a cost in terms of his reticence on an extraction tax. It’s become a liability for him.”

POSTED: Friday, September 5, 2014, 8:12 AM
Gov. Tom Corbett just got two pieces of news that might reassure Republicans worried that his reelection campaign was in deep trouble. (AP /Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice,Wilkes-Barre, PA)

Gov. Tom Corbett just got two pieces of news that might reassure Republicans worried that his reelection campaign was in deep trouble.

First, Harper Polling released a survey Thursday that showed Corbett trailing Democrat Tom Wolf by 11 percentage points, a much tighter race than two other recent polls found.

Second, the Republican Governors Association announced it gave $3.5 million to his campaign coffers – a possible indication that the national GOP has not written off Corbett. RGA had already given Corbett $1.8 million.

POSTED: Thursday, August 28, 2014, 8:02 AM

A $5-million summer onslaught of negative television attack ads has not improved the standing of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in his run for a second term, according to a new poll released Thursday.

Democrat Tom Wolf holds a lead of 25 percentage points in the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, 49 percent to 24 percent, with 25 percent undecided. That has budged little from F & M’s last survey in June.

Just over a quarter of respondents, or 26 percent, said that Corbett has done a good enough job to have earned reelection, the poll found.

POSTED: Thursday, August 14, 2014, 7:35 AM
Tom Wolf and Gov. Tom Corbett

Democrat Tom Wolf seeks to turn the tables in a new TV ad, ripping into Gov.  Corbett for policies that, he says, have led to higher taxes for middle class families in Pennsylvania.

“Get real,” Wolf says as he walks in a leafy neighborhood of Craftsman-style homes. “It’s Tom Corbett who’s been sticking it to the middle class on taxes.”

The 30-second spot began airing state Tuesday, on the heels of a Corbett scorcher that accuses Wolf of proposing to hike state income taxes on middle-income households while taking advantage of tax breaks for himself. (For a deconstruction of that ad, see the post below).

POSTED: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 7:03 AM
Tom Wolf and Gov. Tom Corbett

Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is running a new attack ad that accuses “millionaire” Democratic opponent Tom Wolf of plotting to raise the state income tax on middle-class families while himself paying a lower-than-average effective tax rate.

“Tom Wolf – higher taxes for you, less for him,” an actress says in the 30-second spot, which began running statewide Monday. As she speaks, with a dramatic sigh, the label “Hypocrite” – in capital letters and underlined in red – appears beneath a black-and-white image of Wolf on a small television set, talking.

The ad says that Wolf, part owner of a York building supplies company, paid an effective federal-income tax rate less than half that of the average taxpayer – the example used in a graph is 18.1 percent for an average household versus 8 percent for the Wolf family.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 5:52 PM

Endangered Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) appears to be closing the gap with Democratic opponent Tom Wolf, according to a new Magellan Strategies poll conducted for the news website The Keystone Report and released Tuesday.

Corbett has pulled to within 12 percentage points among likely voters, the Magellan survey found. Wolf, a York County businessman, had the support of 50 percent, to 38 percent for the governor. The rest were undecided.

In an earlier series of independent polls taken from late May through June, Corbett was trailing Wolf by an average of 21.7 percentage points.

About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

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Tom Fitzgerald
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