August 5, 2008 - Voters Don't Think Lawmakers Will Stop Corruption, Quinnipiac University Pennsylvania Poll Finds; Chris Matthews Plays Hardball With Specter

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By a 53 - 11 percent margin, Pennsylvania voters say State House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese should step down because of his alleged involvement in "Bonusgate," according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Results are consistent among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.

Only 24 percent of Pennsylvania voters say they are "very confident" or "somewhat confident" that the State Legislature will enact legislation to end corruption, while 74 percent are "not too confident" or "not confident at all," the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Still, voters say 76 - 18 percent that Gov. Ed Rendell should call a special session of the Legislature this summer to work on legislative reform to combat corruption.

Apparently untouched by the controversy, Gov. Rendell gets a 54 - 37 percent approval rating," little changed from his approval ratings over the last year, but down from his all-time high 61 - 30 percent score February 7, 2007.

Voters disapprove 51 - 32 percent of the job the State Legislature is doing, and 73 percent blame both Democrats and Republicans equally for corruption.

"Pennsylvania voters are clearly fed up with the legislature; say both parties are responsible for corruption, even though only Democrats were indicted in Bonusgate, and want House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese to step down for his role in the scandal," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"They are looking to Gov. Ed Rendell to convene a special session to handle corruption, but have no faith that lawmakers can clean their own house."

Pennsylvania voters disapprove 47 - 40 percent of the way Rendell is handling the state budget and disapprove 57 - 26 of the Legislature's handling of the budget.

Voters oppose 60 - 29 percent a proposal to allow a Spanish company to pay $13 billion to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike, even with a cap on toll increases. Voters statewide also oppose 63 - 29 percent a proposal to put tolls on Interstate 80. Opposition to both measures crosses all political lines.

"Voters continue to give Gov. Rendell a positive approval rating even though they don't like his handling of the budget and overwhelmingly reject his proposals, including billions for the Turnpike and tolls on Interstate 80 - the centerpieces of his program to raise revenue for the state's transportation system," Richards said.

U.S. Senate Race

Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter leads TV news commentator Chris Matthews, a possible Democratic challenger, 41 - 36 percent. Democrats back Matthews 56 - 24 percent, as Republicans back Sen. Specter 63 - 16 percent and independent voters go with the Republican 44 - 27 percent.

Voters approve 59 - 29 percent of the job Specter is doing and give him a 55 - 26 percent favorability. Matthews gets a 28 - 15 percent favorability, as 55 percent of voters don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

"Sen. Arlen Specter remains the most respected statewide public official in Pennsylvania, but his age and health problems could make him vulnerable to a challenge from Hardball's Chris Matthews. Specter leads by only five points in a theoretical matchup, but there is a large undecided vote and many voters don't know enough about Matthews to have an opinion," Richards said.

From July 30 - August 3, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,580 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.

1. MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews is considering running against Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in 2010, according to news reports. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Chris Matthews the Democrat and Arlen Specter the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Matthews                36%    16%    56%    27%    31%    41%    34%    62%
Specter                 41     63     24     44     46     36     43     22
SMONE ELSE(VOL)          1      1      1      3      2      1      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)         2      2      1      3      2      2      2      -
DK/NA                   19     18     18     23     19     20     19     16
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Matthews                45%    45%    33%    33%    32%    36%    34%
Specter                 38     32     38     47     44     38     44
SMONE ELSE(VOL)          2      1      1      1      1      3      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)         1      -      6      1      2      2      1
DK/NA                   14     22     22     18     21     21     20
 
 
2. Is your opinion of -- Chris Matthews favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable               28%    22%    36%    23%    29%    28%    27%    40%
Unfavorable             15     24      7     16     19     11     16      -
Hvn't hrd enough        55     51     56     58     49     60     55     58
REFUSED                  2      3      1      3      2      1      2      2
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable               30%    34%    28%    34%    26%    22%    25%
Unfavorable             14     13     13     17     13     13     15
Hvn't hrd enough        56     54     56     48     58     63     57
REFUSED                  1      -      3      1      3      2      3
 
 
3. Is your opinion of -- Arlen Specter favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable               55%    61%    50%    53%    58%    51%    57%    38%
Unfavorable             26     27     26     26     29     24     26     32
Hvn't hrd enough        16     10     20     17     10     21     15     26
REFUSED                  3      2      4      4      3      4      3      4
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable               59%    50%    48%    65%    58%    44%    54%
Unfavorable             26     27     23     19     25     38     28
Hvn't hrd enough        13     19     23     13     11     17     15
REFUSED                  2      4      6      2      6      2      3
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve                 54%    36%    66%    53%    54%    53%    53%    64%
Disapprove              37     55     26     35     39     36     38     28
DK/NA                    9      9      8     12      7     11      9      9
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve                 46%    78%    52%    68%    47%    40%    43%
Disapprove              42     19     34     24     43     54     47
DK/NA                   13      3     14      8     10      6     11
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor? * Also 46% on 10/5/2005, 4/22/2004, 3/18/2004 and 12/16/2003
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 7   Aug 22  May 30  Feb 7   Apr 5
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2007    2006*
 
Approve                 54      52      53      53      55      61      46
Disapprove              37      34      36      37      36      30      37
DK/NA                    9      13      11      10       9       9      17
 
 
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve                 32%    30%    37%    28%    33%    32%    31%    45%
Disapprove              51     50     48     58     55     47     52     46
DK/NA                   17     20     15     14     12     22     17      9
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve                 32%    37%    30%    45%    28%    24%    26%
Disapprove              55     49     54     36     51     61     55
DK/NA                   13     14     16     18     21     15     19
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 7   Aug 22  May 30  Apr 10  Oct 5
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2003    2005
 
Approve                 32      37      35      30      34      49      26
Disapprove              51      42      48      55      47      24      60
DK/NA                   17      21      17      15      18      27      14
 
 
6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve                 59%    64%    56%    57%    62%    56%    60%    50%
Disapprove              29     28     32     26     30     29     28     40
DK/NA                   12      8     12     17      8     15     11     10
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve                 61%    56%    49%    69%    61%    52%    58%
Disapprove              27     35     30     22     28     42     28
DK/NA                   11      9     21      8     11      6     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Arlen Specter is handling his job as United States Senator? * Also 60% on 5/22/2003 & 2/21/2003
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 8   Aug 22  May 30  Jul 13  Apr 22
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2005*   2004
 
Approve                 59      54      54      58      56      60      47
Disapprove              29      31      31      32      34      30      36
DK/NA                   12      14      14      10      11      10      17
 
 
7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve                 47%    39%    55%    44%    48%    46%    46%    54%
Disapprove              25     32     19     26     28     22     25     22
DK/NA                   28     29     27     29     24     32     29     23
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve                 55%    43%    47%    43%    48%    49%    47%
Disapprove              27     22     25     26     17     37     22
DK/NA                   18     34     28     31     35     14     31
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob Casey Jr. is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Aug 5   Feb 28  Nov 8   Aug 22  May 30  Feb 28  Mar 28
                        2008    2008    2007    2007    2007    2008    2007
 
Approve                 47      50      49      49      47      50      46
Disapprove              25      20      21      23      21      20      18
DK/NA                   28      30      30      28      32      30      35
 
 
8. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Pennsylvania today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Very satisfied           4%     4%     4%     4%     5%     3%     4%     -
Smwht satisfied         44     40     45     44     44     43     44     45
Smwht dissatisfied      32     35     33     30     32     33     32     32
Very dissatisfied       19     20     17     20     18     20     19     20
DK/NA                    1      1      1      2      2      1      1      3
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very satisfied           2%     4%     5%     8%     2%     2%     3%
Smwht satisfied         32     46     39     61     45     32     41
Smwht dissatisfied      44     31     30     22     36     28     36
Very dissatisfied       22     15     26      8     16     37     19
DK/NA                    1      3      1      1      1      -      1
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Pennsylvania today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                        Aug 5   Aug 22  May 12  Apr 5   Feb 13  Dec 8   Oct 5
                        2008    2007    2006    2006    2006    2005    2005
 
Very satisfied           4       4       5       4       4       4       4
Smwht satisfied         44      51      46      50      49      50      42
Smwht dissatisfied      32      31      28      29      30      33      33
Very dissatisifed       19      13      19      14      15      13      20
DK/NA                    1       1       1       2       1       1       1
 
 
9. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the state budget?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve                 40%    27%    49%    40%    42%    39%    40%    45%
Disapprove              47     59     39     47     47     47     47     46
DK/NA                   13     14     12     13     11     14     13      9
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve                 34%    54%    40%    58%    38%    23%    30%
Disapprove              54     36     47     27     48     64     57
DK/NA                   12     11     12     14     14     13     13
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the state budget?
                        Aug 5   Aug 22  Apr 5   Jul 13  Apr 22  Oct 16  Aug 6
                        2008    2007    2006    2004    2004    2003    2003
 
Approve                 40      43      35      45      31      39      42
Disapprove              47      44      45      38      43      41      40
DK/NA                   13      12      19      17      26      20      18
 
 
10. Do you approve or disapprove of the State Legislature's handling of the state budget?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve                 26%    27%    28%    19%    28%    23%    25%    25%
Disapprove              57     54     56     63     58     55     57     61
DK/NA                   18     19     16     18     14     21     18     13
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve                 15%    32%    27%    32%    31%    23%    20%
Disapprove              73     53     58     47     47     65     58
DK/NA                   12     15     15     20     22     12     22
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the State Legislature's handling of the state budget?
                        Aug 5   Aug 22  Oct 16  Aug 6
                        2008    2007    2003    2003
 
Approve                 26      27      29      27
Disapprove              57      57      47      50
DK/NA                   18      16      24      23
 
 
11. A Spanish toll roads company has offered nearly 13 billion dollars to operate the Pennsylvania turnpike for 75 years. The proposal includes a cap on toll increases and protects the turnpike's union workers at least until their contract ends in 2011. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support                 29%    25%    33%    27%    29%    30%    28%    45%
Oppose                  60     65     55     62     65     55     62     42
DK/NA                   11     10     12     11      7     15     11     13
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support                 30%    40%    32%    26%    28%    27%    26%
Oppose                  62     44     63     60     62     65     62
DK/NA                    8     15      5     14     10      8     12
 
 
12. Do you support or oppose putting tolls on Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support                 29%    24%    33%    27%    28%    29%    29%    34%
Oppose                  63     68     59     64     66     60     63     58
DK/NA                    8      7      8      9      6     11      8      8
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support                 34%    36%    21%    33%    17%    32%    25%
Oppose                  56     51     73     58     77     64     66
DK/NA                   10     13      5      8      6      4      9
 
TREND: Do you support or oppose putting tolls on Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania?
                        Aug 5   Nov 7
                        2008    2007
 
Support                 29      28
Oppose                  63      62
DK/NA                    8      10
 
 
13. How much have you heard or read about Bonusgate, the legislative payroll bonus scandal - a lot, some, not much, or nothing at all?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
A lot                   20%    23%    18%    23%    25%    17%    21%    15%
Some                    32     33     32     29     32     32     33     25
Not Much                21     21     20     23     20     22     22     17
Nothing at all          26     23     30     24     23     29     23     43
DK/NA                    -      1      -      1      -      1      -      -
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
A lot                   29%    12%    14%    13%    18%    30%    27%
Some                    44     22     30     29     36     34     33
Not Much                15     16     24     27     23     18     22
Nothing at all          12     50     32     30     23     19     18
DK/NA                    -      -      -      1      -      -      0
 
 
14. Which political party do you blame for political corruption in the state legislature the Democrats or the Republicans or both parties equally?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Democrats                9%    20%     3%     6%    10%     8%    10%     2%
Republicans             15      2     27      8     12     18     12     40
Both equally            73     74     66     85     76     70     75     53
DK/NA                    3      3      3      1      2      4      3      5
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Democrats               10%     4%     8%     7%     9%    14%    12%
Republicans             17     25     13     14     14     13     11
Both equally            72     66     74     75     77     69     73
DK/NA                    1      5      4      3      1      4      4
 
 
15. Do you think House Majority leader Bill DeWeese should step down because of Bonus Gate?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                     53%    54%    53%    53%    56%    50%    53%    58%
No                      11     11      9     14     13     11     12      9
DK/NA                   35     35     38     33     31     39     35     33
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                     64%    51%    51%    45%    48%    61%    55%
No                      10     10     10     14      8     15     12
DK/NA                   27     39     39     41     44     24     33
 
 
16. There are now anti-corruption proposals in the state legislature including such things as banning bonuses for staff, prohibiting gifts, limiting perks, restraining lobbyist influence, and campaign finance reform. How confident are you that the state legislature will pass new laws needed to end corruption? Very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not confident at all?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Very confident           3%     3%     3%     3%     5%     2%     3%    10%
Somewhat confident      21     19     25     15     20     22     19     36
Not too confident       46     49     47     42     43     48     47     38
Not confident at all    28     28     23     38     31     26     29     16
DK/NA                    2      1      2      2      1      2      2      -
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very confident           4%     3%     4%     3%     6%     2%     3%
Somewhat confident      23     23     20     24     22      8     21
Not too confident       48     41     44     48     46     48     45
Not confident at all    23     32     28     23     24     41     30
DK/NA                    2      -      3      2      1      1      2
 
 
17. Do you think Governor Rendell should call a special session of the legislature this summer on legislative reform to combat corruption?
                        Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                     76%    73%    82%    71%    74%    78%    76%    80%
No                      18     21     13     22     21     15     18     14
DK/NA                    6      5      5      7      5      7      6      5
 
                        Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                     80%    78%    78%    73%    69%    79%    77%
No                      18     17     15     22     21     15     16
DK/NA                    2      6      6      5     10      6      7