Poll: Most in Pa. approve of Corbett's NCAA suit

Posted: January 09, 2013

A majority of Pennsylvania voters like Gov. Corbett's move to sue the NCAA over sanctions it imposed on Pennsylvania State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal, an independent poll found.

But they're still not wild about Corbett's job performance.

Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C., connected with 675 registered voters in automated phone calls from Friday through Sunday. It said 52 percent favored the governor's action and 34 percent were opposed.

Penn State football fans - about half of those polled - favored Corbett's move by 63-23. Nonfans were slightly against it, 45-41.

How might this affect Corbett's overall standing with voters? The survey says: not much.

Voters preferred his predecessor, Democrat Ed Rendell, by 46 percent to 40 percent in a hypothetical 2014 matchup, the poll found.

Corbett, a Republican, would be tied with Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane at 42 percent, according to the poll.

"Despite the support for Corbett on the lawsuit, voters are still unhappy with his overall handling of the Penn State situation over the last few years," the polling group said. "Only 27 percent approve of the way he's dealt with it, to 50 percent who disapprove. That's contributing to overall approval numbers that continue to be very poor. Only 38 percent of voters are happy with the job he's doing, to 52 percent who disapprove."

The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Corbett leads other potential Democratic challengers in hypothetical matchups, the poll found - for example, 41-38 over Philadelphia Mayor Nutter and 41-37 over former environmental secretary John Hanger, the only declared Democratic contender thus far.

"The undecideds in all of these races lean strongly Democratic. They're generally voters who disapprove of Corbett, but aren't familiar yet with the potential alternatives," pollster Tom Jensen said. Corbett "continues to be one of the most vulnerable governors in the country headed into 2014."

As for Rendell's numbers,  "absence makes the heart grow fonder," he said.

Rendell, governor from 2003 to 2011, was pretty unpopular himself by the time he left office, scoring an approval rating of just 28 percent in an October 2010 Franklin and Marshall College poll.

"We have nostalgia moments in Pennsylvania politics," said F&M pollster G. Terry Madonna. "But take a look at his poll numbers. They were worse than Corbett's."

For what it's worth, the state constitution limits governors to two terms. Rendell aides who have researched the matter say there is no wiggle room in a lifetime ban - and Rendell has shown no interest in running again.


Thomas Fitzgerald

at 215-854-2718 or tfitzgerald@phillynews.com,

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his blog, "The Big Tent,"

at www.philly.com/BigTent.

Inquirer staff writer Amy Worden contributed to this article.

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