State Attorney General Tom Corbett continues to hold big leads over three potential Democratic rivals in this year’s race for governor in Pennsylvania.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state shows Corbett leading former Congressman Joe Hoeffel 51% to 29%. Against Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, he leads 52% to 26%. When State Auditor Jack Wagner is his Democratic opponent, Corbett is ahead 49% to 28%.
However, in all three match-ups, at least 15% of voters remain undecided at this point.
Last month, Corbett, by far the leading GOP gubernatorial contender, held roughly two-to-one leads over four potential Democrats but earned less than 50% support in every match-up.
Incumbent Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter remains barely over 50% but still holds a 15-point lead over his Democratic Primary challenger, Congressman Joe Sestak. Little is changed this month in Pennsylvania’s overall race for the Senate, with Republican hopeful Pat Toomey still ahead of Specter by nine points.
Both parties will choose their Senate and gubernatorial candidates in May 18 primaries.
Male voters favor Corbett by substantial margins over any of the Democrats. Women voters also prefer the Republican by anywhere from seven to 13 points. Voters not affiliated with either major party support Corbett by sizable double-digit margins.
Corbett is viewed very favorably by 17% of Pennsylvania voters, while only five percent (5%) hold a very unfavorable opinion of him. Eighteen percent (18%) have no opinion of him yet.
Ten percent (10%) have a very favorable opinion of Onoroato, while the identical number (10%) view him very unfavorably.
Hoeffel is viewed very favorably by eight percent (8%) and very unfavorably by 14%.
For Wagner, very favorables total five percent (5%) and very unfavorables seven percent (7%).
One-in-three Pennsylvania voters don't know enough about any of the Democratic candidates to give even a soft favorable or unfavorable opinion of him at this point.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
This year’s election will determine the replacement for term-limited Democratic Governor Ed Rendell. Forty-three percent (43%) of Pennslylvania voters approve of Rendell’s job performance, while 56% disapprove.
The governor’s low job approval numbers may be linked to the fact that the plurality of voters in the state (47%) says he is doing a poor job handling the state’s budget problems. Just 25% give the governor good or excellent ratings on his handling of budget issues.
In order to help alleviate those problems, Rendell is proposing a decrease in the state’s sales tax rate to 4% while expanding it to more items. Most Pennsylvania voters have been following stories on this proposal, but they are evenly divided on their opinions of it. Forty-two percent (42%) are in favor of lowering the sales tax but taxing more items, while 41% are opposed. Another 18% are undecided.
But nearly half (48%) believe the proposal will eventually lead to higher taxes, while just 21% say the end result will be lower taxes. Thirty-one percent (31%) are not sure what impact the governor’s proposal will have on their taxes overall.
Rendell’s proposal to expand the state’s tobacco tax to include smokeless tobacco and cigars is much more popular, with 70% in favor of it. Just 22% are opposed.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of Pennsylvania voters are angry with the current policies of the federal government, including 46% who are very angry. Most (58%) also agree with the idea that neither Democratic nor Republican leaders in Congress know what is needed today. Those results are similar with those found on the national level.
Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters in Pennsylvania believe it would be better for the country if most congressional incumbents up for reelection this year were defeated, while only 16% say it would be better if most were reelected.
Only 34% believe their own representatives in Congress deserve to be reelected, while 44% disagree.
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