GOP voters split on whether Corbett should run for reelection or drop out of the race

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Gov. Corbett is still "100 percent committed" to the race, despite his perpetually poor approval ratings among the party.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Gov. Corbett is still "100 percent committed" to the race, despite his perpetually poor approval ratings among the party.
Posted: November 01, 2013

HERE'S A Halloween scare for Gov. Corbett: The number of registered Republican voters in the state who say he should drop his bid for a second term next year is roughly equal to the number who want him to press forward.

A Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College Poll released today shows that 44 percent of the Republicans polled want another candidate for governor, while 42 percent of them are sticking with Corbett. Another 14 percent of Republicans did not know if Corbett should run.

For a governor with precipitously poor poll numbers all year - drawing attention nationally as one of the country's most vulnerable politicians - this is a serious gut check with his base.

Corbett campaign manager Mike Barley yesterday said, "The governor is 100 percent committed to running for re-election."

Poll director G. Terry Madonna said "it seemed logical" to ask Republicans if they want Corbett in the race, due to the governor's low poll numbers and recent talk in Harrisburg about a potential GOP replacement candidate.

"No governor has been where he is at this point," said Madonna, who has been measuring the political opinions of Pennsylvanians for the Daily News since 1992.

Former governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell saw their poll numbers dip in their first terms. Both climbed above 50 percent in approval ratings with voters in time for re-election campaigns.

Today's poll finds 1 percent saying Corbett is doing an excellent job, 18 percent saying he's doing a good job, 39 percent rating him as only doing a fair job, and 37 percent saying he's doing a poor job.

Two out of three registered voters in the poll said it was time for a change in governors.

Corbett faces a crowded Democratic primary election field for governor. Those candidates are already slamming his record.

So Barley returned the fire, touting Corbett's record on job creation, balancing the state's budget and "keeping taxes low."

"He has a tremendous story to tell, is an elected official who kept his promises, and we are confident that voters will embrace his record over our opponents' failed agenda of raising taxes and increasing spending," Barley said.

The poll also examined the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, finding that 50 percent of respondents said the law should stand, while 40 percent want it repealed and 10 percent said they did not know.

Asked how the law will impact the country's health-care system, 47 percent said it will make it much better or somewhat better, while 41 percent said it will make it somewhat worse or much worse. The rest either didn't know or said it won't make much of a difference.

Twenty percent of those polled said they were definitely or probably eligible to sign up for health insurance under that law, while 46 percent said they were definitely or probably not eligible. Another 35 percent were unsure.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services last month said 41.3 million Americans are uninsured and eligible for health insurance under Obamacare.

Of those polled and eligible, just 13 percent said they have signed up since the program debuted Oct. 1, with major technical troubles plaguing its website. Twenty percent of those eligible said they intend to sign up, while 71 percent said they would not and 9 percent said they did not know.

Madonna said the lack of knowledge voters had about Obamacare came as no surprise, since it is a complicated issue and 85 percent of state residents already have insurance and are not eligible.

"If you have coverage, you're not going to particularly pay attention to the details," he said.


" @ChrisBrennanDN

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