Corbett could hang Jerry Sandusky on the Capitol steps, and he’d still have a negative approval rating

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Keegan Gibson at PoliticsPA has the latest Public Policy Polling numbers on the 2014 Pennsylvania Gubernatorial race:

…the Governor is having a hard time consolidating his party’s support. Less than half of Republicans – 45 percent – said they’d like Corbett to be the GOP nominee in 2014. 37 percent said they want someone else.

Only 54 percent of Republicans said they approve the job he’s doing as Governor. 31 percent disapprove.

The crosstabs tell an interesting story. Corbett does well among self-identified “very conservative” voters, whom he wins 50 percent to 28 against a generic GOP opponent (“someone else”).  He does the worst against “somewhat liberal” Republicans (who he loses 70 percent to 23).

The full memo is here.

Obviously, this is excellent news for Democrats who want to take back the Governor’s Mansion in 2014. Equally excellent is the advantage this gives every Democrat up and down the ballot in 2014.

If Governor Corbett remains the nominee after the 2014 primary election, his unpopularity at the top of the ticket will give Democrats a slightly better shot in contested PA House and Senate races. Congressional elections will be slightly more competitive as well.

What would really be ideal for Democrats is if someone like Daryl Metcalfe jumped into the Republican primary battle and split the anti-Corbett vote with Bruce Castor.

Should Bruce Castor choose to run slightly to the left of Governor Corbett (as the cross-tabs in the PPP poll suggest he should), then a Metcalfe-esque candidate could peel off some of the ultra-right-wingers and propel Corbett to a sure primary victory, while at the same time fracturing both wings of the PA GOP.

Heck, somebody call Sam Rohrer and have him run. Let’s get the Libertarian wing of the PA GOP riled up too.

The more candidates that challenge Governor Corbett in the Republican Primary, the better.  It increases the odds of a deeply-unpopular incumbent Governor getting the nomination, increases the amount of money the eventual nominee will have to spend, and increases the amount of fratricidal anger among the PA GOP.

Assuming the Democrats don’t nominate a stinker, we have an excellent chance of breaking the two-term Gubernatorial tradition we’ve seen since Milton Shapp.

About Jake Sternberger

Jake Sternberger has been a contributing writer at Keystone Politics since 2011. Sternberger primarily covers campaigns and elections, drawing from his experience working on municipal, county, congressional, and statewide PA races doing field, communications, and campaign management. He is currently a law student. Email: jakes@keystonepolitics.com Twitter: @JakeSternberger
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