July 21, 2009 - Pennsylvania Gov's Approval Drops To Lowest Ever, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Rendell Gets More Blame For Budget Stalemate

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Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's job approval rating has shrunk to its lowest level ever, 39 - 53 percent negative, and voters see him as most responsible for the state's budget mess. Voters also reject 63 - 33 percent the Governor's call to raise the state income tax temporarily to balance the budget, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

A total of 90 percent of Pennsylvania voters think the inability of the Governor and State Legislature to come up with a budget by the June 30 deadline is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

State Attorney General Tom Corbett has the best name recognition among Republican contenders in the 2010 Governor's race, while there is no clear leader in the Democratic field.

Rendell is most to blame for the budget stalemate, 30 percent of voters say, while 17 percent blame the Republicans in the Legislature; 11 percent blame the Democrats and 28 percent blame everyone equally. Pennsylvania voters disapprove 57 - 27 percent of the job the State Legislature is doing, close to the all time worst score of 60 - 26 percent October 5, 2005.

"The hassle in Harrisburg over the state budget certainly has caught the public's attention and voters are angry about it," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Up to now we've called Gov. Ed Rendell 'Teflon Ed,' but the budget crisis clearly has put some scratches on him and the state economic crisis is sticking to the Governor. Only 28 percent of voters approve of his handling of the state budget and only 33 percent approve of his handling of the economy."

"Voters clearly don't want their taxes raised to solve the budget mess," Brown added. "Given a choice between raising taxes to maintain the level of services, or cutting spending and leaving taxes the same, 55 percent favor spending cuts and 35 percent say raise taxes."

The 63 - 33 percent opposition to Rendell's proposal to hike the state income tax from 3.07 percent to 3.57 percent for three years gets a 47 - 48 percent split from Democrats, with 81 - 17 percent opposition from Republicans and 58 - 37 opposition from independent voters. If taxes must be raised, voters say 62 - 24 percent raise the sales tax, not the income levy.

Asked if they would be willing to pay more taxes to protect certain specific state spending, a majority said they would in order to protect healthcare and public schools from cuts, but not to stave off an up to $1, 280 jump in state college tuition, or to avoid layoff of state workers.

A total of 57 percent of Pennsylvania voters are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with the way things are going in the state today, the highest dissatisfaction rate ever.

In the race to succeed Rendell, who is not able to seek a third term as Governor, Corbett leads the Republican field with 38 percent while U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach gets 15 percent and former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan gets 9 percent.

Republicans give Corbett a 47 - 3 percent favorability with 48 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion. For Gerlach, 74 percent of Republicans don't know enough about him to form an opinion. Meehan's "don't know enough" is at 82 percent.

"Corbett begins the race ahead and with a sizeable edge," said Brown.

The three Democratic candidates, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, State Auditor Jack Wagner and businessman Tom Knox, are statistically even among Democrats. Onorato and Wagner each get 16 percent, with Knox at 13 percent and 54 percent undecided. The "don't know enough" factor among Democrats ranges from 69 percent to 82 percent.

"At this point there is no leader in the Democratic race for Governor," said Brown.

From July 14 - 19, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,173 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. The survey includes 511 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points and 512 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 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. For more data or RSS feed -- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

2. (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for governor were being held today and the candidates were Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, and Tom Knox, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMS..                     
                     Tot    Men    Wom    
 
Onorato              16%    17%    15%    
Wagner               16     24     11     
Knox                 13     10     14     
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -     
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1     
DK/NA                54     47     59  
 
 
4. (If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for governor were being held today and the candidates were Jim Gerlach, Tom Corbett, and Pat Meehan, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED REPS..                                         
                     Tot    Men    Wom   
 
Gerlach              15%    16%    13%   
Corbett              38     44     31    
Meehan                9     10      8    
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -    
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -    
DK/NA                37     29     48    
 
 
9. If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today would you vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Republican           38%    84%     5%    32%    47%    30%    35%
Democrat             37      1     80     23     31     44     41
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      1      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      1      -      -      -      1      1
DK/NA                24     14     15     44     21     26     21
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Republican           33%    23%    43%    34%    39%    39%    47%
Democrat             42     54     31     39     36     41     28
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      1      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -      2      -      -      -
DK/NA                24     23     24     24     25     19     25
 
 
13. Is your opinion of - Jim Gerlach favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            16%    22%    11%    15%    18%    14%    13%
Unfavorable           6      3      8      6      8      4      4
Hvn't hrd enough     78     74     81     78     73     82     83
REFUSED               1      1      -      1      1      -      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable             5%     9%    11%    33%     8%     6%    18%
Unfavorable           1      9      5     10      6      5      4
Hvn't hrd enough     93     83     83     56     85     90     77
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      2      -      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Jim Gerlach favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Jul 21  May 28
                     2009    2009
 
Favorable            16      15
Unfavorable           6       5
Hvn't hrd enough     78      79
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
15. Is your opinion of - Dan Onorato favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            16%     9%    22%    13%    15%    16%    23%
Unfavorable           6      8      6      4      8      4      7
Hvn't hrd enough     78     82     71     82     76     80     70
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            53%    11%     2%     1%    13%    46%     7%
Unfavorable          29      1      -      -      6     13      2
Hvn't hrd enough     18     88     97     98     81     40     90
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      -      1      1
 
 
16. Is your opinion of - Jack Wagner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            18%    12%    25%    17%    21%    16%    23%
Unfavorable           4      4      5      4      5      4      4
Hvn't hrd enough     76     81     69     78     72     80     73
REFUSED               1      3      -      1      2      1      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            53%     5%    14%     5%    20%    32%    15%
Unfavorable           9      6      2      2      2      7      4
Hvn't hrd enough     38     89     84     91     77     62     78
REFUSED               -      -      -      2      1      -      3
 
 
17. Is your opinion of - Tom Knox favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            10%     8%    13%     9%    11%     9%     7%
Unfavorable           4      3      5      4      5      4      1
Hvn't hrd enough     85     88     82     85     83     87     91
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable             6%    26%     6%    12%     3%    10%     6%
Unfavorable           -     18      1      5      3      1      3
Hvn't hrd enough     94     56     93     81     94     88     90
REFUSED               1      -      -      2      -      2      1
 
 
18. Is your opinion of - Tom Corbett favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            38%    47%    31%    36%    47%    29%    44%
Unfavorable           6      3     10      6      6      7      4
Hvn't hrd enough     55     48     59     57     46     63     52
REFUSED               1      2      -      -      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            52%    24%    34%    26%    43%    46%    44%
Unfavorable           9      9      2      7      3      9      5
Hvn't hrd enough     39     67     63     66     52     45     49
REFUSED               -      -      1      -      2      -      3
 
 
19. Is your opinion of - Pat Meehan favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            12%    15%     9%    13%    15%     9%    10%
Unfavorable           3      2      3      6      4      3      1
Hvn't hrd enough     84     82     87     81     80     88     89
REFUSED               1      2      -      1      1      1      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable             4%    15%     7%    24%    11%     7%     7%
Unfavorable           2     15      -      4      -      1      2
Hvn't hrd enough     93     69     93     71     89     92     89
REFUSED               1      -      -      1      -      -      3
 
 
20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              39%    20%    58%    37%    38%    40%    31%
Disapprove           53     74     34     55     58     49     58
DK/NA                 8      6      8      9      4     11     11
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              32%    62%    30%    59%    29%    23%    29%
Disapprove           61     28     61     30     64     68     67
DK/NA                 8     10      9     11      6      8      5
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor?
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Jul 21  May 28  May 4   Mar 25  Feb 7   Jul 21  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2007    2009    2009
 
Approve              39      54      53      50      61      39      39
Disapprove           53      37      38      38      30      53      53
DK/NA                 8       9       9      12       9       8       8
 
 
21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              27%    26%    30%    27%    23%    30%    28%
Disapprove           57     62     55     55     63     52     57
DK/NA                15     13     15     18     13     17     15
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              22%    30%    24%    37%    36%    19%    22%
Disapprove           64     53     63     44     53     68     62
DK/NA                15     17     13     19     11     13     16
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                             APPROVE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 21  May 28  May 4   Mar 25  Feb 11  Apr 10  Oct 5
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2003    2005
 
Approve              27      42      42      37      39      49      26
Disapprove           57      40      40      43      42      24      60
DK/NA                15      18      17      20      20      27      14
 
 
24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Tom Corbett is handling his job as State Attorney General?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              55%    61%    50%    56%    65%    46%    56%
Disapprove            8      5     10      8      7      9      9
DK/NA                37     35     39     36     27     45     35
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              65%    37%    58%    45%    60%    60%    62%
Disapprove            7     10      7     10      9     12      5
DK/NA                28     53     36     45     31     28     33
 
 
27. 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?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Very satisfied        3%     2%     5%     2%     2%     4%     3%
Smwht satisfied      38     27     48     39     38     38     32
Smwht dissatisfied   35     39     33     35     35     36     39
Very dissatisfied    22     32     13     23     24     21     26
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      -      2      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very satisfied        8%     -      1%     5%     1%     4%     2%
Smwht satisfied      32     51     41     48     29     28     34
Smwht dissatisfied   36     37     33     34     36     36     36
Very dissatisfied    24      9     25     11     34     31     27
DK/NA                 1      2      -      2      -      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?
                                                               
                                                             VERY+SMWHT....  
                                                             High    Low     
                     Jul 21  May 28  May 4   Mar 25  Feb 11  Jun 5   Jul 21  
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2002    2009    
 
Very satisfied        3       6       6        4      3       8       3      
Smwht satisfied      38      50      53       47     46      60      38      
Smwht dissatisfied   35      29      27       31     33      22      35      
Very dissatisfied    22      13      13       18     17       8      22      
DK/NA                 1       2       2        2      1       3       1      
 
 
31. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              33%    15%    49%    32%    31%    35%    29%
Disapprove           60     78     43     62     65     55     66
DK/NA                 7      7      7      6      4      9      5
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              29%    65%    28%    48%    21%    16%    22%
Disapprove           66     30     67     40     74     80     71
DK/NA                 5      5      5     12      6      4      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                     Jul 21  Mar 25  Feb 12
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              33      44      42
Disapprove           60      43      47
DK/NA                 7      14      11
 
 
33. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the state budget?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              28%    14%    41%    27%    28%    29%    23%
Disapprove           64     79     51     63     68     61     69
DK/NA                 8      7      7     10      5     11      8
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              22%    59%    19%    43%    23%    14%    17%
Disapprove           74     36     78     40     73     82     75
DK/NA                 4      5      3     17      3      4      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the state budget?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jul 21  Feb 11  Aug 5   Aug 22  Apr 5   Jul 13  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2008    2007    2006    2004    2009
                             
Approve              28      42      40      43      35      45      28
Disapprove           64      43      47      44      45      38      64
DK/NA                 8      15      13      12      19      17       8  
 
 
34. Pennsylvania has not had a budget since July first, the start of the fiscal year. Do you think that the state's failure to pass a budget is a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, a not too serious problem or not a problem at all?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Very serious         62%    62%    61%    67%    62%    63%    73%
Smwht serious        28     28     32     23     26     30     24
Not too serious       5      6      4      7      9      3      4
Not a problem at all  2      3      2      1      3      2      -
DK/NA                 2      1      2      2      1      2      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very serious         66%    61%    66%    43%    64%    75%    70%
Smwht serious        24     31     26     44     21     23     22
Not too serious       5      5      3      7     12      2      4
Not a problem at all  4      -      3      3      2      -      2
DK/NA                 1      3      2      3      -      -      1
 
 
35. Who do you think is most to blame for the state's failure to pass a budget - Governor Rendell, Republicans in the legislature or Democrats in the legislature?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Rendell              30%    39%    24%    28%    36%    26%    36%
Reps in legislature  17      4     34     12     16     19     14
Dems in legislature  11     21      6      8     13     10     11
EQUAL BLAME(VOL)     28     26     24     37     27     29     24
DK/NA                13     11     12     15      8     17     15
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Rendell              39%    13%    32%    21%    34%    40%    36%
Reps in legislature  22     33     14     20     11     10     13
Dems in legislature  13     12     13     11      6      9     12
EQUAL BLAME(VOL)     19     23     30     28     40     31     28
DK/NA                 7     19     11     19      9     11     11
 
 
36. To balance the state budget next year, if you had to choose, which would you prefer - raising taxes to keep state services at their current level or cutting state services to keep taxes at their current level?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Raising taxes        35%    16%    53%    34%    30%    38%    41%
Cutting services     55     75     38     54     62     49     49
DK/NA                10      9      9     13      8     12     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Raising taxes        38%    49%    35%    35%    32%    29%    29%
Cutting services     55     46     58     53     61     58     57
DK/NA                 7      5      7     12      7     13     14
 
 
37. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising - the state sales tax or the state income tax?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Sales tax            62%    64%    62%    60%    60%    64%    72%
Income tax           24     19     30     23     25     24     18
DK/NA                13     17      8     16     15     12     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Sales tax            56%    72%    71%    61%    57%    57%    63%
Income tax           23     24     18     24     29     26     26
DK/NA                21      5     12     15     14     17     12
 
 
38. Governor Rendell has proposed temporarily raising the state income tax from 3.07 to 3.57 percent. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              33%    17%    47%    37%    32%    34%    35%
Oppose               63     81     48     58     64     61     62
DK/NA                 4      2      5      5      3      5      3
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              35%    51%    26%    42%    24%    29%    25%
Oppose               63     46     73     50     70     68     71
DK/NA                 2      3      1      8      6      4      4
 
 
39. Would you be willing or unwilling to pay more in state taxes to avoid state employees from losing their jobs?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Willing              44%    28%    59%    44%    40%    46%    55%
Unwilling            51     66     36     50     56     46     41
DK/NA                 6      6      5      6      4      7      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Willing              42%    53%    41%    43%    33%    49%    43%
Unwilling            55     46     53     49     64     45     50
DK/NA                 4      1      6      8      3      6      8
 
 
40. Would you be willing or unwilling to pay more in state taxes to avoid cuts in state spending on such things as healthcare and public schools?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Willing              53%    34%    73%    54%    47%    59%    59%
Unwilling            43     60     25     43     49     37     37
DK/NA                 4      5      3      3      4      4      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Willing              57%    69%    42%    55%    43%    53%    52%
Unwilling            37     31     53     41     54     42     44
DK/NA                 5      -      5      4      3      6      4
 
 
41. Would you be willing or unwilling to pay more in state taxes to avoid raising tuition at state public colleges by up to $1,280 a year?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Willing              28%    15%    38%    30%    27%    30%    25%
Unwilling            65     78     57     62     69     63     71
DK/NA                 6      7      5      8      5      8      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Willing              28%    45%    21%    30%    25%    22%    27%
Unwilling            67     55     72     60     69     68     69
DK/NA                 5      -      7      9      6     10      5