Things have gone from bad to worse for unpopular Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. A new Franklin and Marshall College poll found that Democratic nominee Tom Wolf leads Corbett, 47%-25%.
Democratic challenger Tom Wolf is currently crushing Tom Corbett 47%-25%, but the factors contributing to the deficit are even worse for Corbett than the margin itself. Fifty-nine percent of registered voters polled believed that that state is on the wrong track. Only 26% of voters think that Corbett has done a sufficient enough job to deserve re-election. One in four (27%) of registered Pennsylvania voters think Corbett is doing an excellent or good job as governor. Just over half of the state’s Republicans (53%) think their own governor deserves reelection.
There are four issues that have sunk Tom Corbett. The biggest source of anger at the governor remains his cuts to public education. Twenty-seven percent of voters who rated Corbett’s job performance as fair or poor did so based on his performance on education issues. Thirteen percent rated the governor poorly because of economic issues, nine percent faulted him for the lack of change in the state, and an additional nine percent blamed his handling of natural gas drilling.
As governor, Tom Corbett slashed education spending in the state, he has stood in the way of a tax on fracking. Pennsylvania has lost billions of dollars during his term because Gov. Corbett has refused to support a five percent surcharge on fracking. Corbett then claimed that a lack of funding forced him to cut $1.1 billion from the state’s public education budget in the 2011-2012 year alone. In an election year stunt, Corbett tried to replace part of the money in 2014-15, but voters aren’t buying it.
Corbett has alienated every voting bloc in the state with the exceptions of the fracking industry and far right conservatives. He won election in 2010 because most of the state’s Democrats didn’t vote. They won’t be making that mistake again in 2014.
Pennsylvania is a blue state, but not a dark blue state. One of things that Republicans and Democrats have always agreed on before the election of Corbett was public education funding. When the governor hacked public education spending, while refusing to tax those who are fracking, he pretty much punched his ticket out office.
Except for the diehards, who will vote for any Republican on the ballot, Gov. Corbett has no base of support. Democratic candidate Tom Wolf has so far run an outstanding campaign that has placed him right in the middle of the state’s ideological sweet spot.
It doesn’t look like money and incumbency can save the governor, as an overwhelming number of Pennsylvania voters have decided that Tom Corbett has got to go.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association