Poll: Republicans now hoping Gov. Corbett won't run
Republicans who say Gov. Tom Corbett should step aside and let the party run someone else for governor next year outnumber those who say he should stay, a poll by Franklin & Marshall College released Wednesday shows.
But the numbers are very close: more than four in 10 (44 percent) think he should step aside, and a similar proportion (42 percent) believe he should run. The others interviewed (14 percent) said they don't know.
The overall numbers are worse, with the poll showing:
- Most voters don't believe Corbett is doing a good job, including a third of Republicans;
- Most don't believe he deserves re-election, including more than a third of Republicans;
- Most don't view him favorably; and
- Most think the state is on the wrong track.
That's the bad news.
The good news: most people like his plan to expand Medicaid to provide health insurance to more underprivileged people.
The poll surveyed 628 registered voters between Oct. 22 and Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, meaning each figure could actually be that much larger or smaller because of statistical error. The margin of error for the 231 Republicans interviewed is plus or minus 6.4 percentage points.
G. Terry Madonna, Ph.D., the poll's director and noted state political analyst, said he added the question about Republicans wanting Mr. Corbett to step aside because of news reports that top Republicans had privately broached the possibility and private calls he received.
"The question has arisen throughout the year and that cannot be denied and Republican leaders have talked about it, that cannot be denied," he said. "I just asked the question. I think it's legitimate question to ask of the voters."
State Republican Party chairman Rob Gleason denied Republicans have ever had any serious discussions about asking Corbett to step aside.
"None. Never has been," Gleason said. "I have no doubt in my mind that he would run and be re-elected. I believe that Tom has done a fine job as governor. I believe that we have not done a good job educating the electorate about his accomplishments, but we are now going to spend the next year doing that, beginning the day after the election (Tuesday)."
Michael Barley, Corbett's re-election campaign manager, said Corbett is "100 percent committed to running for re-election."
"He enjoys the support of the party and he looks forward to discussing his record of creating jobs, eliminating a $4.2 billion dollar deficit and keeping taxes low to the people of Pennsylvania," Mr. Barley wrote in an email. "He has a tremendous story to tell, is an elected official who keeps his promises and we are confident that voters will embrace his record over our opponents failed agenda of raising taxes and increasing spending. The majority of Pennsylvanians do not want Washington, D.C. politics brought to Harrisburg and that is what our opponents represent."
Madonna said the poll does not mean Corbett cannot win re-election next year, but the numbers continue to show he has a steeper hill to climb than predecessors such as Govs. Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell. Both had approval ratings below 50 percent at the same stage in their first terms, but both had far higher ratings than Corbett, Madonna said.