As a leading candidate for governor, Attorney General Tom Corbett is taking some political risk in seeking to use the courts to strike down what many Pennsylvanians view as a major advance in health-care legislation.
Whether his stance would help him or hurt him in the November general election -- that's "a long way off," in the words of pollster Berwood Yost, of Franklin and Marshall College.
But Yost said Corbett's opposition to the new law certainly doesn't hurt him in the May 18 GOP primary for governor, in which he is opposed by State Rep. Sam Rohrer of Berks County. Rohrer has been hitting Corbett from the right, and Corbett's opposition to the legislation firms up his conservative credentials.
"It absolutely helps him in the primary," Yost said. "Much of the opposition for this [legislation] comes from Republicans."
Yost. the director of the Center for Opinion Research at F&M, said Pennsylvanians appear to take the same very mixed view of the legislation that most Americans do. He noted that a CNN poll released Monday showed 59 percent of Americans opposing the bill and 39 percent favoring it. But 16 percent of those who opposed the bill did so not because they felt it didn't go far enough. Overall, Yost said, support for some change was about half-and-half.
In an interview, Rohrer said he supports Corbett's move.
Rohrer said he personally believes that any involvement by the federal government is unconstitutional, as is federal involvement in education and welfare. All those things, he said, are prohibited by the 10th Amendment to the Construction, which restricts federal power.
Corbett, who is strongly favored to beat Rohrer, caught flak yesterday from one of the four Democrats running in their party's primary for governor.
Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel blasted Corbett for joining other attorneys general from around the country in what he called a "conservative waste of time and resources."
Hoeffel called on the three other Democrats in the May 18 primary to join him in a united front defending the health-care law.