March 3, 2010 - Corbett Leads Unknowns In Pennsylvania Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Oppose Rendell Sales Tax Plan

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has a 43 - 5 percent lead over State Representative Sam Rohrer for the Republican nomination for governor and holds double-digit leads over the top Democratic candidates, all of whom who are virtual unknowns even to their own party members, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

"Don't know" leads the field for the Democratic nomination with 59 percent, followed by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato with 16 percent, State Auditor General Jack Wagner with 11 percent, 2004 U.S. Senate nominee Joel Hoeffel at 10 percent and State. Sen. Tony Williams at 2 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Gov. Ed Rendell remains unpopular with voters as he completes his final year in office, as voters disapprove 49 - 43 percent of the job he is doing, unchanged from December 17.

Voters say 49 - 6 percent Gov. Rendell's plan to increase state spending next year by 4.1 percent was too much rather than too little. Another 35 percent say it's about right.

By a 53 - 40 percent margin, voters oppose the Governor's plan to raise more money by cutting the state sales tax but expanding items covered by it.

"The Democratic candidates for Governor are almost invisible men as far as the voters are concerned. One of them will win the nomination, but at this point they are so closely bunched together and such mystery men to the vast majority of primary voters that any result is possible, given that the primary is little more than 10 weeks away," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In a four-candidate race, the possibilities are endless."

Onorato and Wagner are the best known of the four Democrats and 64 or 65 percent of Democrats don't know enough about them to have an opinion. Hoeffel is unfamiliar to 73 percent and Williams to 93 percent.

Corbett isn't a household name by any stretch, but at least half of voters statewide have an opinion about him, and by 43 - 7 percent it is favorable, which explains his lead in the polls. For Rohrer, 91 percent don't know enough about him.

If the election were held today Corbett would defeat Onorato 42 - 32 percent, Wagner 42 - 30 percent and Hoeffel 41 - 30 percent.

Gov. Ed Rendell, who is barred from seeking a third term by law, is well known to Pennsylvania voters and not all that favorably, as his 49 - 43 percent disapproval continues an eight-month negative streak.

Rendell's rating looks pretty good compared to the State Legislature, which gets a 59 - 29 percent disapproval rating from the voters, better than 64 - 25 percent December 17.

"Rendell's budget plan strikes Pennsylvania voters as too generous in tough times. Almost half, 49 percent, say his spending plans are too much, while only 6 percent think the state should be spending more money. A third, 35 percent, think it's about right."

Democrats back Rendell's proposed changes to the sales tax with a bare 51 - 41 percent majority, while independent voters oppose it 53 - 40 percent and Republicans overwhelmingly oppose it 66 - 28 percent.

Another Rendell tax plan to tax energy companies drilling in the state's Marcellus Shale on the value of the natural gas they produced gets plurality support, 49 - 41 percent.

"Such narrow support for a tax on energy companies - a traditional political whipping boy - is an indication of the general anti-tax mood of the electorate," said Brown.

From February 22 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,452 Pennsylvania voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. The survey includes 649 Democrats, with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points, and 605 Republicans, with a margin of error of +/- 4 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, Tony Williams and Joe Hoeffel, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Onorato              16%    16%    16%
Wagner               11     13      9
Williams              2      1      2
Hoeffel              10     13      8
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      3
DK/NA                59     55     61
 
TREND: (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, Tony Williams, and Joe Hoeffel, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED DEMS...............
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2010    2009    2009    2009
Onorato              16      14      14      16
Wagner               11       7      11      16
Williams              2      na      na      na
Hoeffel              10       8      12      na
Knox                 na       5       5      13
Doherty              na       6       8      na
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1       1       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       1       3       1
DK/NA                59      59      46      54
 
 
3. (If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Tom Corbett and Sam Rohrer, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED REPS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Corbett              43%    47%    39%
Rohrer                5      6      4
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      3      1
DK/NA                49     44     55
 
TREND: (If registered Republican) If the 2010 Republican primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Tom Corbett and Sam Rohrer, for whom would you vote?
                     REGISTERED REPS...............
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2010    2009    2009    2009
Corbett              43      38      42      31
Rohrer                5      na      na      na
Gerlach              na      12      13      13
Meehan               na      na      na       8
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -       1       -       -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2       2       2       -
DK/NA                49      47      43      48
 
 
4. 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              32%     3%    64%    23%    28%    36%    32%
Corbett              42     77     15     40     50     34     42
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      2      1      1      1
DK/NA                24     19     19     33     20     28     25
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Onorato              57%    56%    21%    23%    25%    40%    21%
Corbett              31     16     46     45     53     42     50
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -      2      -      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      2      1      3      1      1
DK/NA                10     26     31     29     18     17     27
 
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?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2010    2009    2009
Onorato              32      30      28
Corbett              42      45      47
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1       1
DK/NA                24      22      24
 
 
5. 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               30%     4%    63%    19%    30%    30%    36%
Corbett              42     76     14     40     48     36     38
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      2      -      2      1
DK/NA                26     19     22     37     20     32     25
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Wagner               39%    51%    25%    26%    30%    30%    23%
Corbett              35     17     42     45     50     46     48
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -      2      1      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      1      1      -      -      1      1
DK/NA                22     29     32     27     19     22     28
 
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?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2010    2009    2009
Wagner               30      33      29
Corbett              42      43      44
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1       1
DK/NA                26      23      25
 
 
6. 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%     3%    61%    20%    27%    32%    34%
Corbett              41     75     15     39     49     34     39
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      2      2      1      2
DK/NA                27     21     23     37     21     33     25
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Hoeffel              31%    57%    22%    37%    21%    19%    22%
Corbett              40     10     43     40     52     49     48
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      2      -      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      1      1      4      1      1
DK/NA                28     31     33     20     23     30     28
 
TREND: 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?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17
                     2010    2009
Hoeffel              30      30
Corbett              41      46
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1       1
DK/NA                27      23
 
 
12. 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            20%    10%    29%    17%    19%    20%    22%
Unfavorable           8     11      5      9     10      7      9
Hvn't hrd enough     71     78     64     73     70     71     69
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      2      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            65%    11%    10%     9%    25%    39%     6%
Unfavorable          24      1      1      4     15     24      3
Hvn't hrd enough      9     86     86     87     57     36     90
REFUSED               1      1      3      -      2      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Dan Onorato favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2010    2009    2009    2009
Favorable            20      18      17      16
Unfavorable           8       9      11       6
Hvn't hrd enough     71      72      71      78
REFUSED               1       1       2       1
 
 
13. 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            20%    14%    29%    18%    23%    18%    19%
Unfavorable           7      8      4      7      8      6      6
Hvn't hrd enough     71     76     65     74     68     74     73
REFUSED               2      3      2      1      2      3      2
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            41%    17%    14%    12%    19%    29%    18%
Unfavorable          19      1      3      5     12      7      4
Hvn't hrd enough     38     79     79     82     64     64     75
REFUSED               2      2      3      1      5      1      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Jack Wagner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2010    2009    2009    2009
Favorable            20      22      22      18
Unfavorable           7       5       6       4
Hvn't hrd enough     71      72      71      76
REFUSED               2       1       1       1
 
 
14. 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            15%     9%    20%    15%    16%    14%    23%
Unfavorable           7      8      5      6     10      4      6
Hvn't hrd enough     77     81     73     78     72     81     71
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            11%    28%    11%    29%     8%     9%     7%
Unfavorable           4      7      5     16      8      2      4
Hvn't hrd enough     85     62     80     54     82     88     88
REFUSED               -      2      3      1      1      -      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Joe Hoeffel favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30
                     2010    2009    2009
Favorable            15      13      13
Unfavorable           7       7       7
Hvn't hrd enough     77      79      80
REFUSED               1       1       1
 
 
15. Is your opinion of - Tony Williams favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Favorable             3%     1%     5%     2%     3%     2%     3%
Unfavorable           2      2      1      2      2      2      1
Hvn't hrd enough     95     96     93     96     94     95     96
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable             -      6%     1%     5%     2%     1%     2%
Unfavorable           3      -      -      2      6      1      1
Hvn't hrd enough     97     93     96     92     90     98     96
REFUSED               -      -      3      1      2      -      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%    62%    32%    39%    53%    35%    46%
Unfavorable           7      3     11      9      8      7     12
Hvn't hrd enough     48     35     55     50     39     55     40
REFUSED               2      -      2      2      1      2      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable            47%    24%    37%    41%    53%    50%    49%
Unfavorable           7      7     10      8      4      5      9
Hvn't hrd enough     46     67     49     51     41     44     41
REFUSED               1      2      4      1      2      1      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Tom Corbett favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21
                     2010    2009    2009    2009
Favorable            43      43      43      38
Unfavorable           7       6       7       6
Hvn't hrd enough     48      50      49      55
REFUSED               2       1       1       1
 
 
17. Is your opinion of - Sam Rohrer favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Favorable             5%     7%     3%     4%     6%     4%     6%
Unfavorable           3      4      2      3      4      3      2
Hvn't hrd enough     91     87     94     93     89     93     91
REFUSED               1      2      1      1      1      1      -
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Favorable             2%     5%     2%     3%     1%     4%     9%
Unfavorable           2      -      -      5      5      3      5
Hvn't hrd enough     96     95     94     91     91     93     85
REFUSED               -      -      4      1      4      -      1
 
 
18. 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%    26%    60%    42%    40%    46%    42%
Disapprove           49     70     27     52     55     43     48
DK/NA                 8      3     14      6      5     11     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Approve              34%    68%    41%    62%    31%    33%    32%
Disapprove           48     26     53     30     63     60     61
DK/NA                18      6      6      8      6      7      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor?
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  Feb 7   Jul 21  Jul 21
                     2010    2009    2009    2009    2007    2009    2009
Approve              43      43      42      39      61      39      39
Disapprove           49      49      51      53      30      53      53
DK/NA                 8       7       6       8       9       8       8
 
 
19. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Approve              29%    23%    41%    24%    26%    32%    30%
Disapprove           59     67     47     62     65     53     60
DK/NA                12     10     12     14      9     15     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Approve              29%    39%    26%    36%    24%    25%    25%
Disapprove           56     44     63     56     61     62     63
DK/NA                15     17     11      8     15     13     12
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                             APPROVE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  May 28  Apr 10  Dec 17
                     2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2003    2009
Approve              29      25      27      27      42      49      25
Disapprove           59      64      64      57      40      24      64
DK/NA                12      11       9      15      18      27      11
 
 
23. 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        2%     1%     3%     -      1%     2%     2%
Smwht satisfied      37     23     55     34     35     39     39
Smwht dissatisfied   37     42     29     38     37     36     37
Very dissatisfied    23     33     12     28     26     21     22
DK/NA                 1      1      1      -      -      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Very satisfied        1%     1%     3%     2%     3%     2%     -
Smwht satisfied      49     46     40     44     29     26     30
Smwht dissatisfied   32     37     29     35     42     44     39
Very dissatisfied    16     16     27     18     24     27     29
DK/NA                 2      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? (*Low also 39% Sep 2009)
                                                             VERY+SMWHT....
                                                             High    Low
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  May 28  Jun 5   Mar 3
                     2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2002    2010
Very satisfied        2       4       2       3       6       8       2
Smwht satisfied      37      38      37      38      50      60      37
Smwht dissatisfied   37      38      36      35      29      22      37
Very dissatisfied    23      19      23      22      13       8      23
DK/NA                 1       2       1       1       2       3       1
 
 
26. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Approve              36%    19%    52%    34%    35%    37%    35%
Disapprove           53     72     36     54     56     51     54
DK/NA                11      8     12     11      9     13     11
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Approve              26%    72%    35%    50%    22%    23%    25%
Disapprove           62     23     55     37     68     68     63
DK/NA                12      5     11     12     10      9     13
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                     Mar 3   Dec 17  Sep 30  Jul 21  Mar 25  Feb 12
                     2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
Approve              36      38      34      33      44      42
Disapprove           53      54      60      60      43      47
DK/NA                11       8       7       7      14      11
 
 
34. (If registered Democrat) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you trust more to do in office what they say they will do during the campaign - Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, Tony Williams or Joe Hoeffel?
                     REGISTERED DEMS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Onorato              19%    19%    20%
Wagner               15     21     11
Williams              4      3      4
Hoeffel              14     16     13
NO DIFF(VOL)          5      4      5
DK/NA                43     37     47
 
 
35. (If registered Democrat) Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you believe most shares your values - Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, Tony Williams or Joe Hoeffel?
                     REGISTERED DEMS..
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Onorato              18%    17%    18%
Wagner               14     20     10
Williams              4      4      4
Hoeffel              13     16     11
NO DIFF(VOL)          3      3      4
DK/NA                48     40     54
 
 
36. Governor Rendell has proposed a state budget for next year that would raise spending by four point one percent next year. Do you think the increase is too much, not enough or about right?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Too much             49%    62%    33%    53%    53%    45%    46%
Not enough            6      5      7      6      6      6      9
About right          35     23     49     31     32     37     35
DK/NA                11      9     11     10      9     12      9
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Too much             47%    30%    48%    44%    54%    57%    56%
Not enough            6     12      6      5      7      3      5
About right          33     48     36     41     30     31     28
DK/NA                14      9     10     11      9      9     11
 
 
37. Governor Rendell has proposed cutting the state sales tax from six percent to four percent but extending it to cover many items that are not currently taxed. In all, the taxes are aimed at raising about an additional five hundred million dollars in revenue. Do you support or oppose this change in the state sales tax?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Support              40%    28%    51%    40%    40%    40%    43%
Oppose               53     66     41     53     54     52     51
DK/NA                 7      7      7      7      6      9      6
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Support              43%    47%    31%    45%    30%    38%    40%
Oppose               49     41     64     46     67     59     53
DK/NA                 8     12      6      9      4      3      7
 
 
38. Governor Rendell has proposed that energy companies drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale pay a new tax based on the value of the energy they produce. Do you support or oppose this new tax?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
Support              49%    38%    60%    52%    53%    45%    57%
Oppose               41     51     29     40     40     41     34
DK/NA                10     11     10      9      6     14      9
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
Support              50%    54%    45%    58%    33%    42%    50%
Oppose               42     32     44     31     56     49     41
DK/NA                 7     14     10     10     11      9      9