Poll shows voters at odds with Corbett on shale tax, school cuts

A new poll suggests voters who supported Gov. Corbett in great numbers in November are not on board with two of his chief campaign promises.

The survey by Franklin & Marshall College shows a majority of residents favor a new tax on natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale and oppose the deep cuts recommended in public education by Corbett in his budget speech last week.

"Voters are conflicted," said F&M pollster Terry Madonna. "They don't want general tax hikes and generically they want cuts, but they don't like the governor's cuts." 

To wit: School district funding cuts were opposed by 78 percent of respondents, while nearly as many (67 percent) rejected the idea of deep cuts to public university budgets. Cuts to Medicaid were opposed buy 70 percent of those surveyed.

Corbett's $27.3 billion spending plan calls for a $1 billion reduction in spending for public schools and state-supported universities took a 50 percent hit.

Corbett has been resolute in his opposition to a shale tax which he has said will hurt the burgeoning deep well drilling industry. A majority of the 521 residents polled  - 60 percent - say they support a tax on smokeless tobacco and selling the state liquor liquor stores.

When asked how they felt about the governor's overall job performance, 31 percent said he was doing a good or excellent job, while 39 percent thought he was doing a fair job.

Thirteen percent described Corbett's job performance as poor and 18 percent were undecided.

The telephone survey was conducted over five days ending Monday with a margin or error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

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