Poll: Voters support 'any Dem' over Corbett

More bad news in the polls for Gov. Corbett as Pennsylvania heads into the gubernatorial election year. Most voters say they would take any Democrat over the sitting governor.

The new poll from Mercyhurst University found 40 percent would support an unnamed Democrat, while 29 percent would vote for Corbett.

Another 16 percent said they didn't know who they would support, while 10 percent said they'd vote for neither or someone else.

There are a record eight Democratic challengers running in the 2014 governor's race.

"The results of our poll are not surprising," said Joseph Morris, director of the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics. " Recent polls have shown that Pennsylvanians largely disapprove of his performance as governor.

Morris said the long slate of Democratic candidates is a sign the party is optimictic about 2014.

"I think there is a feeling among Democrats in the state that, as long as they choose wisely, their candidate stands a good chance 2014," he said.

The poll also looked at voters' feelings about the economy, which have improved somewhat in the past two years, despite difficulties finding employment for many and, for those who are employed, continuing struggles to maintain their standard of living.

Nor is the populace pleased with the way either Congressional Republicans or President Obama have handled the fiscal recovery, the poll found.

Some 32 percent of respondents say the economy is “poor," compared with 57 percent who felt that way in 2011. But 48 percent say it is “not good.. A majority (53 percent) said it is tougher to find a job today compared, with 47 percent who felt that way in 2011.

Roughly one in five Pennsylvanians (22%) have had someone living in their household lose their jobs during the past twelve months (24% in 2011), and three out of every five Pennsylvanians (59%) have close friends or family members who have found themselves unemployed during the past year (67% in 2011), the poll found.

Today, three out of every four Pennsylvanians (75%) know individuals or families that struggle each month to get their basic needs met, such as rent, utilities, healthcare, proper clothes, or food (77% in 2011).

The poll found overall support for natural gas fracking - in areas other than parks and forests - but that number is down from 2011. Of those surveyed, 49 percent favor the practice to extract natural gas, 28 percent oppose it, and 24 percent said it depends how it is done, or they don't know.

A sizeable majority (70 percent) oppose fracking in state parks (where a moratorium now exists), while 59 percent oppose it in state forests.

And a majority of Pennsylvanian residents – 61 percent say they don't believe gas drilling companies “truly care about protecting the environment.” and a most (63 percent) say more regulations are needed.

The telephone poll of 579 adults, was conducted between Sept. 17 and Oct. 3, and has a 4 percent margin of error.

- Amy Worden

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