State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Poll shows Corbett losing to potential Democratic challengers

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 13, 2013 4:09 PM

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A new statewide pollconsiders how the governor would fare against several possible Democratic challengers in 2014, and finds it’s good for Corbett that the election is still more than a year and a half away.

If the gubernatorial election were tomorrow, a Quinnipiac University poll predicts Corbett would lose by nine points to former Democratic congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak.

The same survey shows Corbett would beat by one percentage point the only announced Democratic candidate for governor, John Hanger.

The governor would lose by three points to another higher-profile potential candidate, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz.

“It’s not a devastating survey, but it’s not great, because it lines up so many people who are potential candidates – Democrats – who could beat him,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The survey doesn’t consider how Corbett would fare against any potential Republican challengers in a primary election.

35 percent of those polled said Corbett deserves to be reelected, while 53 percent said he should be a one-term governor.

Election hypotheticals aside, the governor’s approval rating remains low. 39 percent of voters surveyed approve of the job he’s doing, compared to 49 percent who said they disapprove. Corbett’s not alone, there. The state legislature won the approval of just 28 percent of voters surveyed.

“It’s teetering on the edge of being at its all-time low,” said Malloy, referring to Quinnipiac’s May 2010 poll showing 25 percent of voters surveyed approved of the legislature. “It’s a tough time to be a politician in this country generally and these numbers are reflected in nearly every state we polled – it’s the same way. State legislatures are not beloved. Nor is the U.S. Congress.”

If the governor has seemed to waver on the issue of expanding the state’s Medicaid program, the survey shows he’s in sync with registered voters, are nearly evenly split on the idea. 46 percent of those polled support the expansion, while 43 percent are against it.

The poll of 1,116 registered voters was done from March 6 through March 11. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

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