Poll: Corbett popularity continues to slide

Gov. Corbett's approval ratings have slid below 40 percent.

In the Morning Call of Allentown/Muhlenberg College poll released over the weekend 41 percent of state voters say they disapprove of Corbett's job performance, compared to 39 percent who say they approve.

The findings represent a sharp drop from the 51 percent of voters who said they approved of Corbett in December.

Thirty percent of voters disapproved of Corbett in that December poll and 19 percent were undecided. The undecideds held more or less steady at 20 percent in the new poll.

Pollster Chris Borick, a professor at Muhlenberg College, attributed the decline to Corbett's budget proposal, which cuts deeply in education and social services, anger about his handling of the Penn State child sex abuse case and his comment "just look away" about a proposal to require women seeking abortions to view ultrasounds.  

"I think the timing of the poll, after the budget proposal couldn't have helped anything, you're threatening cuts in a number of areas," said Borick. "Certainly you have pockets of resentment over handling of PSU and the misstep on the ultrasound issue. But basically, it's the reality of being governor in difficult fiscal times."

In a March poll by Quinnipiac University, voters concerned about a second-straight year of deep education cuts gave Corbett a 41-41 percent job approval rating, down from a 47 percent to 34 percent approval rating last December.

The Call poll found more optimism among voters on the economy with 31 percent saying it was getting better, up from the 16 percent who gave that answer in a December survey.

The number of respondents who said the economy was getting worse held steady at 34 percent — the same level as in December.

"While people aren't dancing in the streets about the overall economic quality, the numbers do suggest an improving attitude overall and that's pretty significant," Borick told the Call.

The poll, which surved 547 Pennsylvia residents, was conducted bewtween March 23 to April 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Most Pennsylvanians didn't give President Obama credit for helping improve the economic climate.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents believed the president's policies hurt the economy, compared with 30 percent who believed they helped and 30 percent who believed they've made no difference.

But the president still holds the lead over Republican challengers in head-to-head matches in the poll.  Obama tops former Gov. Mitt Romney 45 percent to 40 percent and and former Sen. Rick Santorum 47 percent to 41 percent.

The poll also showed overwhelming support (41 percent) for a natural gas drilling local impact fee and a statewide tax to benefit all Pennsylvanians.


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