One trend that’s been a fixture of all PA Governor race polls since the Republicans started slashing the education budget and women’s health and privacy rights has been a huge polling deficit for Tom Corbett with women voters.
In the most recent Quinnipiac poll in June, women voters said Tom Corbett did not deserve to be reelected by a 28-point margin - 55% to 27%.
This polling deficit is driven by women voters’ strong distaste for the Republican policy agenda of never-ending education cuts; new abortion restrictions; repeated attacks on women’s health and privacy like the ill-fated forced transvaginal ultrasound bill; the stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid; and outright hostility to protecting the environment and public health from the side effects of dirty energy extraction.
Tom Corbett appears to have come up with a remedy to his woman problems that makes about as much sense as the Republican definition of racism.
First he hired veteran Republican strategist Leslie Gromis Baker as his Chief of Staff. And this week we learned that Corbett hired Lynn Lawson as his Communications Director and Katie True as his Director of Legislative Affairs.
You see what he did there? He loves women now you guys! Or more likely, he seems to think that women will warm to a policy agenda they have heretofore recoiled at if it is explained to them in a woman’s voice.
Now, it’s true that all of these women are extremely well qualified political professionals. They all have distinguished records of service in Republican politics. I want to make perfectly clear that I am not suggesting that any of them are unqualified token hires.
But I do think that the recent woman-hiring binge is unusual for the notoriously male-dominated Corbett administration, and it does seem like a conspicuous effort to compensate for a weakness.
The Republican operatives who claimed Tom Corbett’s agenda only needed a superficial make-over appear to have won out over those warning his unpopularity stemmed from right-wing policy overreach.