Friday, February 12, 2016

Corbett's job approval numbers sink to new low

At the midway point of his second year in office, the numbers aren't looking good for Gov. Corbett.

Corbett's job approval numbers sink to new low


At the midway point of his second year in office, the numbers aren't looking good for Gov. Corbett.

A new poll released today by Franklin & Marshall College finds the governor's job approval rating dipping below 30 percent for the first time. At the same time his disapproval rating increased by 10 percentage points.

Poll director Terry Madonna attributes the drop to Corbett's cuts to human services, higher ed and basic education.

"He recommends cuts to popular programs and when the legislature restore it and he agrees he doesn't embrace the restorations," said Madonna. "Add to that they didn't provide rationale for cuts to begin with. He wasn't selling agenda and this is the legacy of the budget."

Fewer than a third (28 percent) of voters think Corbett is doing a good or excellent job while almost two thirds (66 percent) say he is doing a fair (40 percent) or poor (26 percent) job, according to the poll released today. 

In a similar poll in June a total of 38 percent of Pennsylvania voters rated Corbett's job performance at good or excellent  and 54 percent rated it fair or poor.

With election 2014 just around the corner - in political time - does this signal a tough road ahead for Corbett should he choose to run again?

Not necessarily, says Madonna. Virtually every other governor in recent memory, except Dick Thornburgh in the 1980s, suffered from mid-term voter blues and that didn't affect their ability to win a second term, he said.

"Corbett's reelection prospects are directly tied to two things: the health of overall economy and the fiscal condition of state," said Madonna. "Instead of talking about cuts, he can talk about other things and that markedly improves chances for reelection and his job performance."

Madonna said the challenge ahead also depends on whether the Democrats can find a big league candidate to put up against him.

And so far, though lots of names have been tossed around - among them U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and state Treasurer Rob McCord - no solid candidates have emerged.

The same poll found President Obama leading Mitt Romney, 44% to 38% with 15% undecided and Sen. Casey leading GOP challenger Tom Smith, 35% to 23% with 39% undecided 

The poll of 681 Pennsylvania voters was conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College from August 7 to August 12 and has a margin-of-error rate of plus or minus 3.8 percent.




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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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