Poll: Corbett gets low marks in F&M survey
Corbett gets low marks in poll BY KAREN SHUEY, Staff Writer
Things aren't looking good for Tom Corbett.
An overwhelming number of Pennsylvania voters say they're not impressed with the governor's job performance, a Franklin & Marshall College Poll released today shows.
Just 26 percent of registered voters say the Republican is doing an excellent or good job -- the lowest rating a sitting governor has gotten in the history of the F&M poll.
Poll director G. Terry Madonna said the survey reflects that Corbett, who is halfway through his first term, is having some difficulty explaining his actions to voters.
"The economy has not gotten better, and that has impacted some of the decisions (Corbett) has been making," Madonna said. "You cannot disassociate those two things."
The first two years of his term, Madonna said, Corbett recommended big spending cuts that didn't sit well with all voters.
So the governor is trying a different approach this year.
Corbett proposed an ambitious budget this week that would hinge on whether the Legislature adopts a number of new reforms.
"Only recently has (Corbett) started to talk about issues that really matter to people, that seem to strike a chord," the pollster said.
The decision to move forward with the privatization of the Pennsylvania Lottery weighs on Corbett's numbers.
Last month, Corbett accepted a $34 billion bid from British-based Camelot Global Services to manage the lottery.
The F&M poll shows a strong opposition to the governor's plan to privatize the management of the lottery.
Only 18 percent of voters favor the the move. The proposal has weak support among Republicans (27 percent), independents (21 percent) and Democrats (11 percent).
"I was a little surprised at how unpopular the lottery decision was," Madonna said. "I think a lot of people saw it as outsourcing, and people don't like that idea."
Corbett's decision to fast-track the issue, without input from the General Assembly, also was a factor.
The polls showed that 84 percent of voters believe the privatization of government functions should require legislative approval.
One unintended consequence of the privatization effort, the poll shows, is that there could be an initial reduction in the number of lottery customers.
The survey found that more than half of the respondents who say they play the lottery claim they will purchase tickets less frequently when the deal goes through.
Although voters didn't like the decision to hand over the management of the lottery, privatizing some services is popular among voters.
A majority, 53 percent, would like to see the state get out of the business of selling wine and spirits.
"Historically, the privatization of the state's liquor stores has always been popular with voters," Madonna said.
Republicans (61 percent) are more likely to favor privatizing the liquor stores than Democrats (48 percent) or independents (51 percent).
The survey also gauged support for funding improvements to the state's aging infrastructure -- another hotly debated issue Corbett has been talking about recently.
More than four in five, or 82 percent, of voters believe the state should spend more on repairing and improving the state's roads, bridges and transit systems.
However, there is less support for the governor's transportation-funding plan. Only 43 percent favor a plan to increase vehicle and drivers fees and eliminate the cap on the oil franchise tax.
The margin of error in the new poll of 622 registered voters, conducted Jan. 29 through Feb. 3, is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
In addition to the issues high on Corbett's to-do list, the poll took a closer look at a few other hot-button topics.
According to the poll:
n 94 percent of Pennsylvania voters favor requiring background checks for all gun sales; 61 percent support banning high-capacity magazines; 61 percent believe assault weapons should be banned; and 61 percent favor limiting handgun purchases to one per month.
n 36 percent said marijuana use should be made legal, and 55 percent oppose legalization. However, 82 percent say marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes when a doctor recommends it.
n 52 percent support allowing gays and lesbians to marry, while 42 percent oppose it.
n 42 percent believe that President Barack Obama is doing an excellent or good job. His job performance rating is a bit lower than it was in October (45 percent), when he was seeking re-election.
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