First Term Troubles - Corbett's numbers continue to drop

Things aren't looking good for the guv: A new poll shows that only 38 percent of Republican voters want Corbett to serve a second term.
Things aren't looking good for the guv: A new poll shows that only 38 percent of Republican voters want Corbett to serve a second term.
Posted: August 30, 2013

PENNSYLVANIA governors typically encounter trouble in their first terms and the polls reflect that with dipping popularity.

It happened to Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, in the late 1990s.

It happened to Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, in the mid-2000s.

Ridge and Rendell recovered, posting popularity numbers above 50 percent by the time they ran successfully for re-election.

A Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College Poll being released today tells a different story for Gov. Corbett, a Republican up for re-election next year.

Corbett's poll numbers continue to drop precipitously.

Just one in five registered voters think Corbett, who faces challengers from his own political party but no primary-election opponent, deserves a second term.

It comes as little surprise that just 7 percent of Democrats want a second term for Corbett.

It's a problem for Corbett that just 22 percent of independents want him re-elected.

It is potentially disastrous that just 38 percent of Republican voters support his re-election.

Pollster G. Terry Madonna easily ticks off Corbett's troubles:

* Two of his first-term priorities - failed attempts to privatize the state liquor-store system and the state lottery - don't matter much to voters. Five percent of the voters ranked liquor privatization as a top priority. The lottery didn't even register in the poll.

* Another Corbett priority - a transportation-funding plan - stalled in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. The poll found that 29 percent of voters consider it a top priority.

* Corbett is taking serious heat for education-funding troubles.

"On the big things that voters care about, education, every day you read a story about cutbacks," Madonna said. "Not just in Philly. All over the state."

Voters ranked education and unemployment as the most important issues facing the state.

Asked to grade Corbett on those issues, 15 percent gave him an A or a B on creating jobs, while 11 percent gave him an A or a B on improving public education.

Madonna said Ridge and Rendell were able to sell their agendas in the General Assembly. So far, Corbett has faltered at that.

"That's a serious problem for the governor," Madonna said.

Although the General Assembly is contributing to Corbett's political woes, it looks unlikely that its members will pay any price.

Just 11 percent of the voters polled said state legislators are doing a good job while 54 percent say they are doing a fair job, 29 percent say they're doing a poor job and 6 percent didn't know enough to offer an opinion.

A strong majority, 56 percent, said most members of the state House should be voted out of office in the next election.

But the poll shows a far more even split in opinion when voters were asked about their own state representative. Thirty-seven percent said their state representative deserves re-election while 33 percent said no and 30 percent said they were not sure.

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN


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