Voters like Corbett but doubt no-tax pledge, back Rendell on gambling

By a three-to-one margin voters say they like what Gov. Corbett's is doing one month into his term.

But an overwhelming number (95 percent) have "serious" concerns about the state budget and most don't believe the Republican governor will be able to stick to his no-tax pledge.

That's according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today.

“Gov. Corbett is off to a good start. Although half the electorate doesn’t have an opinion of him, among those who have an opinion more than three times as many approve of what he has done so far than who disapprove,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “His challenge will be to keep that ratio of support as he gets more detailed about how he’ll deal with the state government’s shortfall when he releases his budget next month.”

Voters widely agree that the state’s budget problems are real: 61 percent say the state’s budget woes are “very serious,” while 34 percent say “somewhat serious,” an unusually large percentage, said Brown.

“You probably can’t get 95 percent of people to agree that motherhood and apple pie are good things,” said Brown.

By a 53 – 33 percent margin, voters don’t believe Corbett can keep his promise to balance the budget without raising taxes.

But they don't seem to agree on the budget-cutting ideas being proposed in Harrisburg.

The one idea they strongly favor is selling state liquor stores, an idea they support 65 – 26 percent. Otherwise:

• Voters oppose 51 – 36 percent selling or leasing the Pennsylvania turnpike to raise cash;

• They oppose raising taxes 63 – 33 percent;

• They support 52 – 40 percent laying off state workers.

And former Gov. Rendell - who left office with his lowest approval rating in eight years on the job - mostly got support from those polled on his controversial comments about gambling on "60 Minutes."

Rendell got global attention - most not favorable - for lambasting reporter Leslie Stahl as an “idiot” and a “simpleton” for her questions about whether legalized gambling increased rates of addiction.

Rendell said people would gamble with or without casinos and the benefits of gambling  - needed state revenue - outweighed the negatives.

“While voters say 54 – 39 percent that legalized slot machine gambling in Pennsylvania is creating new gamblers, they agree with Gov. Ed Rendell, who defended the expansion of legal gambling on his watch, that gambling addicts might as well lose their money in the Commonwealth,” said Brown.


Click here for's politics page.