September 21, 2010 - Corbett Has Big Lead In Pennsylvania Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Independent Voters Back Republican 2-1

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Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett holds a 54 - 39 percent lead over Democrat Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County Executive, in the race to become Pennsylvania's next governor, fueled by a 56 - 29 percent margin among independent voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released today.

Corbett also leads Onorato when it comes to rebuilding the state's economy, handling its budget problems and sharing voters' values, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds. This is the first general election survey of likely voters in Pennsylvania in this election cycle and cannot be compared to earlier surveys of registered voters.

Only 7 percent of voters say they are undecided while 16 percent of Corbett backers and 22 percent of Onorato supporters say they might change their mind before Election Day, making Corbett's competitive position slightly stronger.

Corbett leads Onorato 88 - 9 percent among Republicans and trails 84 - 10 percent among Democrats. There is a yawning gender gap, with Corbett winning men 65 - 29 percent and Onorato ahead among women 52 - 39 percent.

"Attorney General Tom Corbett is in strong position to be Pennsylvania's next governor. Not only is his lead substantial, but his supporters are slightly less likely to say they might change their minds than are Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato's," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Only 7 percent of voters are undecided. So Onorato must win all of those voters and convert Corbett supporters as well."

"An Onorato victory probably would require a sea change among independent voters who are now strongly in Corbett's camp and often are the group that decides elections," Brown added.

Corbett's lead in the horse race is matched by the difference in voter opinions of the two candidates. Onorato's favorable/unfavorable ratio with likely voters is 40 - 24 percent with 33 percent saying they haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion. Corbett gets a 51 - 21 percent favorability while 27 percent haven't formed an opinion. Among the key voting bloc, independents, Corbett has a 50 - 17 percent favorability rating, while Onorato has a 33 - 29 percent score.

"Gov. Ed Rendell isn't exactly helping Onorato's cause. Likely voters disapprove 57 - 35 percent of the job Rendell is doing. In an election year that is showing strong signs of having an anti-incumbent, anti-Democratic tide, Onorato's party tie to the unpopular incumbent may be a problem," said Brown.

Corbett leads Onorato on issue and character questions:
  • 48 - 38 percent that he would do a better job rebuilding the state's economy;
  • 48 - 38 percent that he would better handle the state budget;
  • 49 - 38 percent that the Republican most shares their values.
Only 2 percent of likely voters say they are "very satisfied" with the way things are going in Pennsylvania today, while 34 percent are "somewhat satisfied." A total of 64 percent are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied."

"This election is playing out across a pessimistic electorate. When voters are unhappy with the status quo they look for change and since the two best known Democrats - President Barack Obama and Gov. Ed Rendell - are not on the ballot this year, they are taking their frustrations out on any other Democratic target, and that is Dan Onorato," said Brown.

From September 15 - 19, Quinnipiac University surveyed 684 Pennsylvania likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 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 the 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? (If undecided q1) If you had to choose today, would you vote for Onorato or Corbett? This table includes "Leaners".
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Onorato              39      9     84     29     29     52
Corbett              54     88     10     56     65     39
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      -      2      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 7      2      5     13      5      9
 
 
1a. (If candidate choice q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........
                            CAND CHOICE Q1
                     Tot    DO     TC
 
Made up              79%    77%    81%
Might change         19     22     16
DK/NA                 2      1      3
 
 
2. (If Onorato voter q1) Is your vote for Governor mainly for Onorato or against Corbett? (*Subgroup not large enough to report)
                     LIKELY ONORATO VOTERS.................
                     Tot    *Rep   Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
For Onorato          67            72     59     61     72
Against Corbett      26            25     28     34     21
DK/NA                 6             3     13      5      7
 
 
3. (If Corbett voter q1) Is your vote for Governor mainly for Corbett or against Onorato? (*Subgroup not large enough to report)
                     LIKELY CORBETT VOTERS.................
                     Tot    Rep    *Dem   Ind    Men    Wom
 
For Corbett          73     78            67     74     69
Against Onorato      17     16            20     16     18
DK/NA                11      6            13     10     13
 
 
4. Is your opinion of - Dan Onorato favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favorable            40     19     76     33     34     49
Unfavorable          24     38      5     29     30     16
Hvn't hrd enough     33     40     18     35     34     32
REFUSED               3      2      1      3      2      3
 
 
5. Is your opinion of - Tom Corbett favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favorable            51     80     19     50     59     39
Unfavorable          21      4     45     17     18     24
Hvn't hrd enough     27     15     35     31     22     35
REFUSED               2      1      1      3      1      2
 
 
16. Which one of these four qualities matter most in deciding how you vote for Governor; the candidate is honest and trustworthy, has the right experience, can bring about needed change to Harrisburg or shares your values?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Honest and
 trustworthy         22     19     27     23     20     24
Right experience      9     10     14      4      7     13
Can bring change     35     36     32     39     37     33
Shares values        30     34     26     28     33     27
DK/NA                 3      2      1      6      3      3
 
                     CAND CHOICE Q1
                     DO     TC
 
Honest and
 trustworthy         20%    22%
Right experience     15      6
Can bring change     34     37
Shares values        29     31
DK/NA                 1      3
 
 
17. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job rebuilding Pennsylvania's economy, Dan Onorato or Tom Corbett?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Onorato              38      9     77     31     31     46
Corbett              48     78     12     49     57     36
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    2      1      -      3      1      2
DK/NA                13     12     10     17     11     16
 
 
18. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job handling Pennsylvania's state budget, Dan Onorato or Tom Corbett?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Onorato              38      9     77     31     31     47
Corbett              48     78     12     52     57     35
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    1      1      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                13     12     10     16     11     17
 
 
19. 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 or Tom Corbett?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Onorato              35     10     72     24     29     42
Corbett              46     73     15     48     55     35
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    6      7      3      9      5      7
DK/NA                13     10     10     20     10     17
 
 
20. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you believe most shares your values, Dan Onorato or Tom Corbett?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Onorato              38      6     80     33     29     49
Corbett              49     83     10     51     58     38
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    1      1      1      1      1      1
DK/NA                12     10      9     15     12     13
 
 
21. Which type of candidate would you prefer to see as governor, someone with years of government experience or a government outsider?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Experience           45     40     67     31     38     54
Outsider             43     49     22     52     50     33
DK/NA                13     11     11     18     13     13
 
                     CAND CHOICE Q1
                     DO     TC
 
Experience           67%    31%
Outsider             20     58
DK/NA                13     11
 
 
22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling his job as Governor?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              35     12     63     36     31     40
Disapprove           57     82     27     54     64     48
DK/NA                 8      5     10     10      5     12
 
 
24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Tom Corbett is handling his job as State Attorney General?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              63     83     45     60     68     56
Disapprove           16      8     27     12     16     17
DK/NA                21      9     28     28     17     27
 
 
25. 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?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very satisfied        2      1      2      2      1      2
Smwht satisfied      34     18     60     27     30     39
Smwht dissatisfied   39     42     28     43     39     38
Very dissatisfied    25     38      9     27     29     19
DK/NA                 1      -      1      1      1      1
 
 
26. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ed Rendell is handling the economy?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              33     13     60     31     30     37
Disapprove           62     83     34     63     68     54
DK/NA                 6      5      6      6      3     10