Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Good thing Corbett's on vacay

A new F&M poll shows new data on top pols and worst numbers ever for Gov. Corbett. Good thing he's away.

Good thing Corbett's on vacay

Results from the latest Franklin & Marshall College poll were released Thursday and reported here by my colleague Chris Brennan.

Good thing Gov. Corbett's vacationing at his condo in Hilton Head. Maybe his new staff will allow the Guv a respite from the drumbeat of bad news and not share results until he returns to Harrisburg.

I suppose things could be worse for Corbett, but it's hard to see how.

Not only is his "reelect number" a dismal 20%. His "job approval" rating of 16% is lowest since he took office and lower than any incumbent PA pol in my memory.

You can look at the polling data here. (Keep in mind job approval and favorable/unfavorable numbers are two different things.)

A political reporter colleague in another part of the state sent an email after looking at the poll that said if Corbett comes back from these numbers, "We will forever need to speak his name only in reverent terms."

Indeed.

There is, as always, a way for that to happen. In politics all things are possible. Pennsylvania, for example, has a 95% track record of electing or reelecting governors of the opposite party of the incumbent president that dates back to the 1930's.

So if Obamacare blows up or the Mideast mess gets worse or the economy doesn't get better, state voters could be so unhappy with national Democratic leadership that they vote against whichever Democrat runs against Corbett.

Also, the F&M poll shows Corbett doesn't have the highest "strongly unfavorable" number in the state. His is at 32% (the highest since he took office). But President Obama's is at 41% (the highest since HE took office). So there's that.

But there's other bad news for Corbett in what the new poll says is "most important" to state voters.

For the first time, education tops the list, ahead of the economy, unemployment, health care and taxes.

As the Philly school district implodes and other districts around the state cut programs or raise taxes, it's hard to see how Corbett's cost-cutting "I didn't raise taxes" tout plays as well as it sounds.

Corbettites like to point out that the Guv hasn't started his (well-funded) campaign and nobody knows who Democrats (who have an earned reputation for screwing things up) will pick to oppose him. And there's a long way to November 2014. And all that's true.

But if these new numbers don't start to improve in a major way over the next several months, Corbett will have a lot more time to spend down there in Hilton Head.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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