By Alex Roarty
HARRISBURG — Despite facing a growing mountain of polls showing him down 10 points or more, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato says he thinks he’s still within single-digits, and well-within striking distance, of defeating Republican opponent Tom Corbett.
“It’s close,” he said during a press conference in the Capitol to promote his plan to levy a severance tax on the natural gas industry. “It’s definitely within single-digits.”
He said later he believes the margin is as close as five or six points.
Recent polling data, however, paint a more pessimistic picture for the Allegheny County chief executive. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday showed him down 15 points, 49 percent to 34 percent, and a Rasmussen survey unveiled Thursday put the margin at 13 points, 50 percent to 37 percent.
A Franklin & Marshall College poll released last week reported Corbett was up 11 points, 38 percent to 27 percent.
Onorato’s problem stem mainly from the gaping enthusiasm gap facing Democrats this year. Polls that sample registered voters, instead of likely voters, show him far closer to Corbett. The F&M poll, for instance, showed the Republican attorney general leading by only 1 point in a survey of registered voters, 10 points fewer than a sample of likely voters.
But Onorato repeatedly said Wednesday that he expects to be the state’s next governor. Voters will have a chance by Nov. 2 to compare both men, and the Democrat said most of them will decide on him.
“I am excited about where we are at nine weeks out,” he said.