December 15, 2010 - Pennsylvania Voters Hopeful For New Governor, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Selling Liquor Stores Is Top Choice To Balance Budget

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Pennsylvania voters say 59 - 27 percent they are optimistic about the next four years with Governor-elect Tom Corbett at the helm, and 66 - 26 percent back the idea of selling the state's liquor stores to help balance the state budget, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters oppose 52 - 36 percent leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private firm, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. And by a 51 - 41 percent margin, voters are okay with laying off state workers to reduce the red ink.

Corbett has pledged he will not raise taxes or fees to balance the budget. Voters say 47 - 44 percent they think the pledge is a good idea, but they say 53 - 33 percent he will not be able to keep his pledge. Pennsylvania voters oppose 65 - 32 percent raising taxes to balance the budget.

"Pennsylvanians are optimistic that newly-elected governor Tom Corbett will be able to make things better by more than two-to-one, yet they are skeptical that he can deal with the state's budget problems without raising taxes or fees, as he has promised," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Even Democrats are optimistic, 45 - 40 percent, about the future under Corbett."

Republicans are most optimistic, 79 - 14 percent, about the next four years under Corbett, while independent voters are optimistic 59 - 25 percent.

"Corbett won comfortably because he carried independents and those same independents are giving him the benefit of the doubt as he begins his governorship," said Brown.

Sixty percent of Pennsylvania voters see the state's budget problems as "very serious" and another 33 percent see them as "somewhat serious." And by 56 - 30 percent they favor cutting state services rather than raising taxes as the method to deal with the problem.

Selling state-owned liquor stores has the most support among various ideas tested, with support pretty much across party lines. The idea is backed by 68 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats.

But laying off state workers gets a more partisan skew with 59 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of independent voters backing the idea, but only 43 percent of Democrats. Those in union households split 44 - 46 percent on state worker layoffs.

But the opposition to leasing the turnpike is stronger and relatively bipartisan, with 56 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents and Republicans against the idea.

Given a choice of ways to balance the budget:
  • 54 percent of voters support selling the state liquor stores;
  • 17 percent pick leasing the turnpike;
  • 14 percent say lay off state workers;
  • 7 percent say raise taxes. Asked their least favorite solution:
  • 47 percent of voters put raising taxes at the bottom of the list;
  • 28 percent say laying off state workers;
  • 14 percent name leasing the turnpike;
  • 7 percent say selling the liquor stores.
"Pennsylvanians do not appear to be ideological on the issue of privatizing state assets. They support selling the liquor stores while they oppose leasing the turnpike," said Brown.

"They apparently want the state in the driving business but not the drinking business."

From December 6 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,584 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. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

3. Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the next four years with Tom Corbett as Governor?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Optimistic           59%    79%    45%    59%    57%    60%    57%
Pessimistic          27     14     40     25     30     25     29
DK/NA                14      6     15     16     13     14     14
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Optimistic           64%    46%    59%    58%    60%    65%    60%
Pessimistic          27     36     19     31     31     22     26
DK/NA                 9     18     23     11      9     13     14
 
 
11. 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    HsHlds
 
Very satisfied        2%     2%     4%     1%     3%     2%     3%
Smwht satisfied      35     29     42     33     37     33     36
Smwht dissatisfied   37     39     35     38     34     40     35
Very dissatisfied    25     30     17     26     25     24     25
DK/NA                 1      1      1      2      1      1      1
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Very satisfied        3%     5%     1%     3%     2%     -      2%
Smwht satisfied      33     44     38     41     31     26     30
Smwht dissatisfied   35     33     38     39     36     38     38
Very dissatisfied    28     17     23     16     31     34     28
DK/NA                 2      -      -      1      -      2      2
 
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
                     Dec 15  Jul 13  Apr 8   Mar 3   Dec 17  Jun 5   Mar 3
                     2010    2010    2010    2010    2009    2002    2010*
 
Very satisfied        2       3       4       2       4       8       2
Smwht satisfied      35      37      42      37      38      60      37
Smwht dissatisfied   37      38      34      37      38      22      37
Very dissatisfied    25      21      19      23      19       8      23
DK/NA                 1       1       1       1       2       3       1
 
 
12. How serious do you think Pennsylvania's budget problems are very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Very serious         60%    63%    58%    60%    62%    59%    53%
Smwht serious        33     32     36     32     31     36     39
Not too serious       4      4      5      4      6      3      6
Not at all serious    1      -      -      1      1      -      -
DK/NA                 1      1      1      2      1      2      2
 
TREND: How serious do you think Pennsylvania's budget problems are - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                     Dec 15  Feb 20
                     2010    2003
 
Very serious         60      32
Smwht serious        33      55
Not too serious       4       7
Not at all serious    1       1
DK/NA                 1       5
 
 
13. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer; raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Raising taxes        30%    13%    46%    27%    27%    32%    30%
Cutting services     56     77     38     59     61     52     54
DK/NA                14      9     16     14     12     16     16
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Raising taxes        37%    46%    30%    35%    23%    15%    23%
Cutting services     47     37     53     53     63     71     64
DK/NA                16     17     17     11     13     14     13
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Dec 15  Feb 20
                     2010    2003
 
Raising taxes        30      29
Cutting services     56      57
DK/NA                14      14
 
 
14. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs for state employees?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              51%    59%    43%    53%    53%    49%    44%
Oppose               41     34     50     37     39     42     46
DK/NA                 9      8      7      9      8      9     10
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              57%    35%    56%    51%    50%    53%    51%
Oppose               36     59     35     42     35     42     39
DK/NA                 7      6      9      7     15      6     10
 
 
15. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - leasing the Pennslyvania turnpike to a private company?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              36%    39%    33%    36%    37%    36%    36%
Oppose               52     50     56     50     55     49     55
DK/NA                12     11     11     13      8     16      9
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              38%    34%    34%    44%    21%    36%    37%
Oppose               48     61     55     41     69     53     49
DK/NA                15      6     11     15      9     11     14
 
 
16. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - selling off the state liquor stores?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              66%    68%    63%    70%    68%    64%    62%
Oppose               26     26     31     23     27     26     32
DK/NA                 8      6      6      7      5     10      6
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              69%    59%    59%    77%    63%    65%    64%
Oppose               22     33     30     19     30     27     28
DK/NA                 9      8     11      4      7      8      9
 
 
17. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - raising taxes?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Support              32%    17%    44%    34%    33%    31%    38%
Oppose               65     82     53     62     64     66     58
DK/NA                 3      2      3      4      3      3      4
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Support              31%    44%    38%    40%    22%    19%    28%
Oppose               64     55     56     59     73     76     71
DK/NA                 5      1      6      1      5      4      1
 
 
18. If you had to make a choice to help balance the state budget, which would you choose; leasing the turnpike, selling the state liquor stores, laying off state workers or raising taxes?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Lease turnpike       17%    18%    19%    14%    16%    19%    20%
Sell liquor stores   54     54     52     57     50     56     55
Lay off state wrkrs  14     20     10     15     16     13      9
Raise taxes           7      2     12      6     10      5      7
DK/NA                 7      6      7      7      8      7      9
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Lease turnpike       15%    21%    14%    18%    10%    21%    20%
Sell liquor stores   54     54     51     59     55     47     52
Lay off state wrkrs  14     10     18     12     17     17     15
Raise taxes          10     12      6      6      9      3      6
DK/NA                 6      3     12      5      9     12      7
 
 
19. And which would you be most opposed to; leasing the turnpike, selling the state liquor stores, laying off state workers or raising taxes?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Lease turnpike       14%    11%    14%    14%    16%    11%    13%
Sell liquor stores    7      7      9      5      9      5      7
Lay off state wrkrs  28     19     36     26     27     29     36
Raise taxes          47     59     36     49     44     49     42
DK/NA                 5      4      4      5      4      5      3
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Lease turnpike       16%    19%    16%    14%     8%    10%    12%
Sell liquor stores    6      8      8      3     15      5      8
Lay off state wrkrs  20     39     27     35     21     19     28
Raise taxes          55     31     43     44     49     58     48
DK/NA                 3      3      7      4      7      8      4
 
 
20. Governor-elect Tom Corbett has pledged that in trying to balance the state's budget deficit that he will not raise taxes or fees. Do you think Tom Corbett should have made this pledge or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  47%    64%    36%    43%    46%    48%    44%
No                   44     26     60     46     46     43     49
DK/NA                 9     10      4     11      9      9      7
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                  51%    42%    39%    46%    51%    59%    44%
No                   44     50     50     48     34     33     44
DK/NA                 5      7     11      6     15      8     12
 
 
21. Do you think Tom Corbett will be able to keep his campaign pledge or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHlds
 
Yes                  33%    47%    24%    32%    37%    31%    28%
No                   53     40     65     52     52     53     59
DK/NA                14     14     11     15     11     16     13
 
                     Alghny Philly NthEst SthEst NthWst SthWst Cntrl
 
Yes                  35%    33%    29%    32%    29%    45%    33%
No                   51     53     49     60     59     42     52
DK/NA                13     14     22      8     12     13     14