Pennsylvania’s Democratic candidates for governor are getting an early Christmas present with the release of a new Quinipiac University poll showing incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett with a 36-53 percent underwater approval rating, his worst net score ever in Quinnipiac’s polling.
Quinnipiac’s previous polling from early June showed Corbett’s negatives at 35-48.
The polling, released today, showed Corbett with negative grades of 31-58 percent from women, 42-47 percent from men, 16-75 percent from Democrats and 35-53 percent from independent voters. Republicans approve 61-27 percent.
Quinnipiac also tested head-to-head matchups against likely Democratic challengers, with former Auditor General Jack Wagner and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz leading the pack at 48-36 percent and 45-37 percent, respectively.
Former PA DEP Secretary Katie McGinty beat Corbett 44-37, which tied former State Revenue Secretary Tom Wolff who likewise beat Corbett 44-37.
Treasurer Rob McCord beat Corbett 42-39 and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski beat Corbett 41-39.
Former DEP Secretary John Hanger was the only candidate who lost to Corbett in the hypothetical matchup, garnering 37 percent to Corbett’s 42 percent. I suspect that was because Q-pac polled him as “Former Public Utilities Commissioner John Hanger,” a title which Hanger held, but a title that respondents may have associated with utility companies.
As it currently stands, this race is ours to win—we just have to pick the candidate in May with the best chance of winning in November.
The top two candidates (Wagner and Schwartz) would bring a lot of name recognition to the table, but they both carry the baggage of long legislative records for Team Corbett to dig up and use against them.
Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto was able to do this to Wagner with great effect during their primary election, and Schwartz’s legislative record spans decades.
Candidates like Rob McCord, Katie McGinty, and Tom Wolff have all served solely in executive positions and wouldn’t have to defend old votes. It wouldn’t be as easy for Team Corbett to drive up their negatives, while at the same time these candidates would have more space to define themselves.