December 17, 2009 - Corbett Has Early Lead In Pennsylvania Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Strong Support For Medical Marijuana

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has a 38 - 12 percent lead over Jim Gerlach for the Republican nomination for governor and holds double-digit leads over three of the top candidates in the wide-open race for the Democratic nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Pennsylvania voters say 59 - 35 percent that allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes is a good idea, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Term-limited Gov. Ed Rendell, who cannot seek a third term, gets a negative 43 - 49 percent job approval rating, a trend that began in July when the state lived through a three-month budget stalemate that turned off voters of both parties.

The State Legislature, with which Gov. Rendell feuded during the budget standoff, gets a much lower 25 - 64 percent negative job approval, its worst score ever.

"Fifty percent of Pennsylvania voters don't know enough about Attorney General Tom Corbett to form an opinion. For all the other candidates, the 'don't know enough' number ranges from 72 to 88 percent," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "That edge in name recognition is an obvious plus for Corbett. But what is interesting is that the other candidates have not been making much progress, either in trial heats against Corbett, or in greatly improving their name recognition."

In the five-way race for the Democratic nomination for Governor, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato leads the field with 14 percent of the vote while none of the others crack double-digits. Most voters, 59 percent, are undecided.

"All of the candidates are so unknown to most Democrats that it is anyone's guess what will happen," said Brown. "One thing is for sure; with five months until the May 18, 2010 primary, none of the candidates is even close to separating themselves from the pack."

Trailing Onorato in the Democratic race are 2004 U.S. Senate nominee Joe Hoeffel with 8 percent, State Auditor General Jack Wagner with 7 percent, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty with 6 percent and Philadelphia businessman Tom Knox with 5 percent.

In general election matchups, Corbett leads Onorato 45 - 30 percent, Wagner 43 - 33 percent and Hoeffel 46 - 30 percent.

Medical Marijuana

Support for legalizing medical marijuana is 67 - 26 percent among Democrats and 61 - 33 percent among independent voters, while Republicans split with 49 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed. Medical marijuana wins support from all age groups, ranging from 62 - 35 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old to 56 - 38 percent among voters over 55.

Gov. Rendell's poor job approval rating seems tied to his handling of the economy, on which voters give him a negative 38 - 54 percent approval. That's a 16-point negative, compared to a six-point negative on his overall job approval.

"Although the Governor remains popular with Democrats who give him a 63 percent approval on his overall job performance, among independents, he gets approval from only 44 percent, and not surprisingly, just 21 percent of Republicans feel that way," said Brown. "His support among union households - a bedrock of the Democratic Party - is just 37 percent. But these numbers shouldn't be all that surprising since his counterpart to the east, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, was booted from office last month and in Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland faces a strong challenge for reelection."

From December 8 - 14, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,381 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. The survey includes 588 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points and 619 Democrats, each with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 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, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

1. (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, Tom Knox, Joe Hoeffel and Chris Doherty, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
 
Onorato              14%    11%    16%
Wagner                7      7      7
Knox                  5      5      5
Hoeffel               8     12      5
Doherty               6      5      6
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1
DK/NA                59     57     59
 
TREND:(If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, Tom Knox, Joe Hoeffel, and Chris Doherty, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMS
                     Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2009    2009
 
Onorato              14      14
Wagner                7      11
Knox                  5       5
Hoeffel               8      12
Doherty               6       8
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       3
DK/NA                59      46
 
 
3. (If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Jim Gerlach and Tom Corbett, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED REPS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
 
Gerlach              12%    14%     9%
Corbett              38     38     38
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      3
DK/NA                47     45     49
 
TREND: (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.......
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Gerlach              12      13      15
Corbett              38      42      38
Meehan               na      na       9
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       -       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       2       -
DK/NA                47      43      37
 
 
6. If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Dan Onorato the Democrat and Tom Corbett the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Onorato              30%     4%    63%    20%    26%    34%    31%
Corbett              45     78     14     48     52     39     41
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      2      1      2      1      2      3
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1      1      1      2      1
DK/NA                22     16     21     30     20     24     25
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Onorato              45%    44%    26%    22%    31%    41%    20%
Corbett              41     25     47     45     52     38     56
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       3      6      1      -      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      2      1      1      1
DK/NA                10     25     26     31     15     20     22
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for governor were being held today and the candidates were Dan Onorato the Democrat and Tom Corbett the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2009    2009
 
Onorato              30      28
Corbett              45      47
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1
DK/NA                22      24
 
 
7. If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Jack Wagner the Democrat and Tom Corbett the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Wagner               33%     6%    65%    25%    28%    37%    37%
Corbett              43     77     14     40     49     37     36
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1      2      1      1      -
DK/NA                23     15     21     33     22     24     26
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Wagner               43%    54%    30%    21%    30%    44%    23%
Corbett              37     23     42     44     48     36     55
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      1      -      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      3      4      -      -
DK/NA                17     22     27     32     18     19     20
 
TREND: If the 2010 election for governor were being held today and the candidates were Jack Wagner the Democrat and Tom Corbett the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2009    2009
 
Wagner               33      29
Corbett              43      44
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1
DK/NA                23      25
 
 
8. If the 2010 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Joe Hoeffel the Democrat and Tom Corbett the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Hoeffel              30%     5%    62%    19%    26%    33%    36%
Corbett              46     79     16     46     51     41     39
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      -      -      2      -
DK/NA                23     16     20     33     22     23     24
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Hoeffel              31%    62%    29%    27%    21%    28%    21%
Corbett              48     19     43     43     56     48     57
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      -      -      1      -      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      1      2      1      3      -
DK/NA                19     20     28     27     22     20     21
 
 
12. 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            10%    12%     7%    11%    13%     7%     8%
Unfavorable           5      3      5      5      6      5      5
Hvn't hrd enough     83     84     86     82     80     87     87
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable             2%    13%     8%    20%     4%     7%    10%
Unfavorable           3      4      2     15      1      2      4
Hvn't hrd enough     94     81     88     65     94     90     85
REFUSED               1      1      2      1      -      -      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Jim Gerlach favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  May 28
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Favorable            10      13      16      15
Unfavorable           5       6       6       5
Hvn't hrd enough     83      80      78      79
REFUSED               1       2       1       1
 
 
13. 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            18%     9%    26%    17%    16%    19%    16%
Unfavorable           9     11      6     12     10      8      7
Hvn't hrd enough     72     80     66     70     72     73     77
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            49%     5%     8%     8%    22%    44%     8%
Unfavorable          33      5      2      1      9     19      4
Hvn't hrd enough     14     90     90     91     67     36     87
REFUSED               3      -      1      -      1      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Dan Onorato favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Favorable            18      17      16
Unfavorable           9      11       6
Hvn't hrd enough     72      71      78
REFUSED               1       2       1
 
 
14. 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            22%    15%    27%    24%    23%    20%    22%
Unfavorable           5      7      3      5      5      4      3
Hvn't hrd enough     72     77     69     70     70     75     73
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      2      1      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            41%    16%    20%    10%    26%    34%    17%
Unfavorable          12      1      5      3      5      5      4
Hvn't hrd enough     45     82     74     86     67     60     78
REFUSED               2      1      1      1      2      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Jack Wagner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Favorable            22      22      18
Unfavorable           5       6       4
Hvn't hrd enough     72      71      76
REFUSED               1       1       1
 
 
15. 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             9%     9%    11%     7%     9%     9%     8%
Unfavorable           4      3      4      4      5      3      2
Hvn't hrd enough     87     87     85     88     86     87     89
REFUSED               1      1      -      1      1      1      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable             4%    26%     5%    11%     2%     2%     9%
Unfavorable           1      9      1      6      -      -      4
Hvn't hrd enough     94     63     93     83     96     97     86
REFUSED               -      2      1      -      1      -      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Tom Knox favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Favorable             9      10      10
Unfavorable           4       4       4
Hvn't hrd enough     87      85      85
REFUSED               1       1       1
 
 
16. 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            43%    63%    24%    45%    50%    37%    37%
Unfavorable           6      4      8      7      7      6      8
Hvn't hrd enough     50     32     68     47     43     56     54
REFUSED               1      1      -      2      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            49%    27%    39%    37%    50%    44%    51%
Unfavorable          10      6      9      4      5      9      5
Hvn't hrd enough     39     67     51     58     44     47     43
REFUSED               2      -      2      -      1      -      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Tom Corbett favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Favorable            43      43      38
Unfavorable           6       7       6
Hvn't hrd enough     50      49      55
REFUSED               1       1       1
 
 
17. Is your opinion of - Chris Doherty favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable             8%     5%    12%     5%     6%     9%     7%
Unfavorable           4      3      4      3      4      3      3
Hvn't hrd enough     88     92     83     91     89     87     90
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable             1%     7%    21%     5%     6%     6%     8%
Unfavorable           1      3     13      2      3      1      3
Hvn't hrd enough     97     89     64     92     91     91     88
REFUSED               -      -      1      1      -      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Chris Doherty favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2009    2009
 
Favorable             8      10
Unfavorable           4       4
Hvn't hrd enough     88      86
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
18. Is your opinion of - Joe Hoeffel favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            13%     8%    20%     9%    13%    13%    13%
Unfavorable           7     10      1     10      8      6      6
Hvn't hrd enough     79     81     78     81     78     80     80
REFUSED               1      1      -      1      1      1      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Favorable            11%    30%    10%    23%     3%     7%     5%
Unfavorable           4      7      3     20      -      -      7
Hvn't hrd enough     84     63     86     56     96     92     87
REFUSED               -      -      2      1      -      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Joe Hoeffel favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2009    2009
 
Favorable            13      13
Unfavorable           7       7
Hvn't hrd enough     79      80
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
19. 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              43%    21%    63%    44%    43%    43%    37%
Disapprove           49     72     29     50     50     49     53
DK/NA                 7      7      8      6      7      8     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              30%    73%    45%    62%    29%    34%    29%
Disapprove           65     26     46     29     59     60     62
DK/NA                 5      1      9      9     11      6      9
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as governor?
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  May 28  Feb 7   Jul 21  Jul 21
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2007    2009    2009
 
Approve              43      42      39      54      61      39      39
Disapprove           49      51      53      37      30      53      53
DK/NA                 7       6       8       9       9       8       8
 
 
20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              25%    19%    35%    21%    22%    27%    22%
Disapprove           64     71     54     68     70     59     70
DK/NA                11     10     11     11      7     14      8
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              12%    40%    26%    26%    29%    25%    20%
Disapprove           85     47     60     57     52     68     73
DK/NA                 3     13     14     16     18      7      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                             APPROVE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  May 28  May 4   Apr 10  Dec 17
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2003    2009
 
Approve              25      27      27      42      42      49      25
Disapprove           64      64      57      40      40      24      64
DK/NA                11       9      15      18      17      27      11
 
 
24. 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        4%     1%     8%     1%     4%     3%     2%
Smwht satisfied      38     30     47     38     37     38     40
Smwht dissatisfied   38     46     30     37     37     38     35
Very dissatisfied    19     23     13     22     20     19     20
DK/NA                 2      -      2      3      1      2      3
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very satisfied        2%     5%     4%     6%     -      5%     2%
Smwht satisfied      34     50     42     44     40     30     30
Smwht dissatisfied   44     34     33     36     38     34     42
Very dissatisfied    19     11     17     11     20     30     25
DK/NA                 -      1      4      3      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
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  May 28  May 4   Jun 5   Sep 30
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2002    2009
 
Very satisfied        4       2       3       6       6       8       2
Smwht satisfied      38      37      38      50      53      60      37
Smwht dissatisfied   38      36      35      29      27      22      36
Very dissatisfied    19      23      22      13      13       8      23
DK/NA                 2       1       1       2       2       3       1
 
 
27. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Approve              38%    22%    54%    38%    41%    35%    37%
Disapprove           54     74     37     54     53     54     53
DK/NA                 8      5      9      9      5     10     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Approve              25%    64%    40%    56%    21%    30%    28%
Disapprove           68     29     52     34     71     65     65
DK/NA                 7      7      7     11      8      5      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                     Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  Mar 25  Feb 12
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              38      34      33      44      42
Disapprove           54      60      60      43      47
DK/NA                 8       7       7      14      11
 
 
31. There is a proposal in the state legislature that would allow adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Good idea            59%    49%    67%    61%    61%    57%    62%
Bad idea             35     47     26     33     34     36     32
DK/NA                 6      4      7      6      4      7      6
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Good idea            66%    60%    72%    65%    47%    53%    51%
Bad idea             23     31     21     31     45     43     45
DK/NA                11      9      6      4      7      4      4
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  NoColl College
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Degree Degree
 
Good idea            62%    61%    56%    57%    61%    65%    59%    61%
Bad idea             35     33     38     36     35     32     35     34
DK/NA                 3      6      7      8      3      4      6      5