Gov. Tom Corbett has “no strong base of support among any income or age group or in any region of the state” as he starts to plan for re-election midway through his first term, a statewide poll found.
Voters disapprove of the job Corbett is doing by a margin of 42-36 percent, says the poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. That‘s down from 40-38 percent in November.
“He is pretty much across the board under water,” assistant polling director Tim Malloy said.
The poll of 1,221 registered voters conducted Jan. 22-27 found a large gender gap, with women disapproving of Corbett‘s performance 45-31 percent and men approving 41-37 percent.
“Leadership is not a popularity contest,” said Corbett‘s spokesman Kevin Harley. “The governor will continue to advance an aggressive legislative agenda this spring, which will help grow the economy and create jobs.”
Corbett has said that agenda includes pension reform, state store divestiture and transportation funding. He will release a budget proposal next week and is speaking Tuesday in Moon about funding for state police.
Corbett‘s support among fellow Republicans was 52-25 percent. The pollsters characterized that as “lukewarm” support among GOP voters. Democrats disapprove 57-24 percent; independents disapprove 39-36 percent.
By a 51-31 percent margin, voters say Corbett does not deserve to be re-elected to a second term. He has made no formal announcement but on several occasions has given strong hints he will run for re-election in 2014.
His approval rating is 36 percent, the poll shows. The poll‘s margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percent.
“It‘s halftime in Gov. Tom Corbett‘s first term, and if he were running a football team instead of a state, he‘d fire his offensive coordinator,” said Malloy.
It is not too late, however, to turn the numbers around, Malloy said. He noted how the Republican governor of Ohio, John Kasich, has rebounded.
The Penn State scandal weighs heavily on Corbett‘s approval numbers. As former attorney general, he launched the investigation of pedophile Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach who was convicted of child molestation last year and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. The fallout from that case included the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno.
The poll found voters disapprove 50-26 percent of the way Corbett handled the Penn State situation. In households where one or more members attends or graduated from Penn State, the numbers are 59-23 percent disapproval.
A majority of voters approve of the lawsuit Corbett filed against the NCAA to reduce sanctions against Penn State over the Sandusky scandal. They think the sanctions, including bans on bowl games and loss of scholarships, were too severe, the poll found.