PA-Gov Round-Up: Wine, Six-Packs and Gender Gaffes

PA-Governor-Mansion2We’re on the verge of Labor Day weekend, which means we’ve nearly reached the traditional start of the fall campaign season.

Yesterday, the general dynamics of the gubernatorial race were confirmed by the latest Franklin and Marshall poll that showed Wolf with a 25-point lead.

This last week of summer, however, was very much like the rest of the season. By which I mean it focused disportionately on ads, attacks, and the always controversial and ill-defined term “gaffe.”

Wolf

The Wolf campaign has wisely left most of their negative campaign work to FreshStartPA, the PAC they created after their split with Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn. This week the PAC launched a very successful effort to embarrass Gov. Corbett by spotlighting some comments he made on The Sam Lesante Show last month.

In an attempt to illustrate how the issue of liquor privatization affects PA citizen’s everyday lives, the Governor offered up a hypothetical example.

“I think a lot of people want to be able to walk into the grocery store,” the Governor stated. “Particularly, a lot of the women want to be able to go and buy a bottle of wine for dinner. Go down and buy a six-pack or two six-packs, and go home. Rather than, what I just described, is at least three stops in Pennsylvania.”

Gov. Corbett’s comments received mainstream attention (particularly from more progressive news outlets) as another example of sexiest comments coming from a Republican. It was portrayed as the latest chapter in the “war on women”, an effort that has allowed Democrats to be extremely successful at capitalizing on certain tone-deaf statements.

Yet the question remains, was it an actual gaffe? Republicans obviously don’t seem to think so and the nature of the Governor’s comments allow them to be interpreted either way.

The episode does highlight the self-fulfilling nature of politicians who are gaffe-prone. If you’ve committed verbal faux pas in the past, future statements are more likely to be seen in a critical light. This is why, regardless of partisan ideology, the words of some political figures (ex. George W. Bush and Joe Biden) are more highly scrutinized than others (ex. Barack Obama and Dick Cheney).

Unfortunately for the Governor, this generally isn’t a problem that goes away.

Corbett

Meanwhile, the Corbett camp tried to hit Tom Wolf over what they feel are his own misstatements and gaffes.

The Corbett-Cawley team criticized the Wolf campaign for constantly changing the amount of revenue they believe a 5% severance tax could bring to the state. As the incumbent’s campaign detailed, at various times Wolf or his campaign have said it would be $600 million, $650 million, or $700 million.

“Just as Secretary Tom Wolf’s positions on the issues change with the wind, apparently so do his revenue projections,” said Corbett-Cawley Communications Director Chris Pack. “That’s no surprise given Tom Wolf’s reputation as Revenue Secretary, where projections were so far off they contributed down the road to a $4.2 billion budget deficit and the creation of a non-partisan office to check projections by the governor.”

The incumbent’s campaign also sought to dig up an old perceived gaffe of Wolf’s from a Democratic primary debate, when he answered a question about why the Wolf Organization’s board had no female members by saying his company’s management has “women in spades.”

The Governor’s team sought to contrast the fact that only two of the nineteen managerial members of the Wolf Organization are women to their own candidate’s record of appointing women to governmental posts.

“Governor Corbett’s has the first-ever female chief of staff in the history of Pennsylvania and also has seven women serving at the head of state agencies. Combined, they are responsible for nearly 80 percent of the state budget,” stated Women For Corbett-Cawley Chairwoman Bernie Comfort. “It’s clear that Governor Corbett values the expertise of the many intelligent, hard-working women in his administration.”

If you feel like the accusations that we’ve dealt with this week are too trivial, have no fear. Labor Day is around the corner and the general election is set to begin, so there should be plenty more trivial issues to choose from.

DEP: Water Wells Were Contaminated by Drilling 243 Times

gas-drillingPennsylvania’s environmental groups have been pushing for a long time to have the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) release the number of drilling incidents that have resulted in water contamination. Yesterday, they finally got their wish.

According to the Associated Press, there have been 243 cases of water wells being contaminated as a result of oil and natural gas drilling since 2008.

In addition to the environmental groups, the AP and various other new agencies also filed several open-record requests and even lawsuits in order to view the documents.

According to the documents, the problems included methane gas contaminating the wells as well as wastewater spilling into the supply. In some instances, the water wells just went completely dry.

The AP found that problems occurred in twenty-two counties throughout the state with most of them occurring in the Northeast.

“I guess this is a step in the right direction,” Thomas Au of the Pennsylvania Sierra Club chapter said of the public release of documents on drinking well problems. “But this is something that should have been made public a long time ago.”

Meanwhile, the Marcellus Shale Coalition blamed the state’s geology for the issues.

“[Pennsylvania] has longstanding water well-related challenges, a function of our region’s unique geology — where stray methane gas is frequently present in and around shallow aquifers,” MSC President Dave Spigelmyer responded in a statement. “Our industry works closely and tirelessly with regulators and others to ensure that we protect our environment, striving for zero incidents.”

8/29 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Wolf maintains wide lead over Corbett, we take a look at an internal Corbett campaign memo and profile Wolf’s campaign team. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-Gov: F&M Poll: Wolf 49 Corbett 24: The latest Franklin and Marshall poll shows the Democratic candidate with a 25 point lead.

PA-Gov: Internal Memo: Corbett Down 7 Points: An internal memo shows the Governor’s re-election effort within striking distance.

Staff Profile: Tom Wolf’s Campaign Team: We take an in-depth look at the Democratic gubernatorial nominee’s staff.

F&M Poll: President Obama’s Approval Rating Steady at 34%: The latest Franklin and Marshall poll shows the President’s approval rating in PA unchanged from June.

PA-Gov: Corbett Ties Wolf to Rendell, Obama in New Ad (VIDEO): The Governor is unleashing his most negative commercial yet in response to bad polling news.

PA-Gov: HHS Accepts Corbett’s Medicaid Plan: The federal government announced today that it has given the green light to Corbett’s HealthyPA plan.

Statewide
State House Sound Bites: How layout of a community can affect our health
State House Sound Bites: Advocates praise Medicaid waiver decision, but with a caveat
State House Sound Bites & AP: Waiver to use Medicaid money for private insurance approved
PA Independent: With school budgets tight, prevailing wage again goes under microscope
PA Independent: No rest for the death industry as it awaits high court decision
PA Independent: Three things to know: New poll shows Corbett trailing Wolf by 25 points in PA gubernatorial race
StateImpactPA: New study shows gas workers could be exposed to dangerous levels of benzene
PLSReporter: Study gives Pennsylvania barely passing marks in economic performance and job growth
Capitolwire: AG Kane’s subpoenas seek location of leases on public lands, corporate information

Philadelphia
WHYY Newsworks: U.S. allows Corbett alternative to Medicaid expansion
KYW Newsradio: Camden police make public outreach a top priority
The Inquirer: After gaffe in Philly, VA head calls for review of training programs
The Inquirer: Former aide’s guilty plea raises questions for U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah
Philly.com: ‘Made in America’ street closures, SEPTA detours
Philly.com: Hearing in Bucks on opiate abuse is set for Thursday

SEPA
Daily Local News: Exelon seeks meeting over NRC security finding
Daily Local News: Collegeville man launches write-in campaign for Pa. governor
Montgomery Media: Upper Dublin Rite Aid robbery suspect admits robbing three other pharmacies
Delco Daily Times: Lower Chi man charged with bringing gun into fed building in Philly
Delco Daily Times: Chester woman convicted in straw purchase case

Pittsburgh
Tribune Review: Feds approve compromise on Corbett’s alternative Medicaid program
Tribune Review: Uber and Lyft say they’ll rely on PennDOT inspections for safety
Early Returns: New poll: Wolf edges ahead
Post-Gazette: DEP publishes official determinations of damaged water supplies related to oil and gas operations
Pittsburgh Business Times: PUC weighs changing regulations after Uber, Lyft cruise into market
Pittsburgh Business Times: Report: Pennsylvania receives D- for job growth

Southwest
Beaver County Times: County seeks permanent end to private security by deputies
Observer Reporter: W. Pa. township sued over gas drilling
Altoona Mirror: Water authority unveils alternative

NEPA
Times Leader: Officials defend use of public money for Schott
Citizens’ Voice: Glodzik often denied involvement in scandal
News Item: Shamokin receive DCED loan, prepares to pay vendors
News Item: Mount Carmel council meets with auditor
Standard Speaker: Technicality may save Hazelton mayor’s budget lawsuit

South Central
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: East Hempfield officials hope new guidelines protect rural area north of 283
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: State wins approval to expand Medicaid by using federal funds to buy private plans
Carlisle Sentinel: Former Harrisburg treasurer surrenders on theft charges
Harrisburg Patriot News: That’s human waste you’re smelling in Cumberland County field, but DEP says it’s OK
Harrisburg Patriot News: Corbett claims ‘historic’ achievement in Pa. plan to use Obamacare expansion funds
Harrisburg Patriot News: Medicaid expansion advocates react to federal approval of Corbett’s Healthy Pa. plan
Harrisburg Patriot News: With about two months to go, Tom Wolf’s lead in Pa. gubernatorial race grows slightly in new poll
Today’s the Day Harrisburg: Harrisburg City Treasurer John Campbell Makes A Statement, Resigns In Light of Charges Against Him
York Dispatch: Wolf maintains double-digit lead over Corbett in latest poll
York Daily Record: York eyes earned income tax hike
York Daily Record: Poll shows Wolf maintaining lead in Pa. gov race
Lebanon Daily News: Poll shows Tom Wolf maintaining lead in Pa. governor’s race
Lebanon Daily News: Lebanon 9-12 group protests Gingrich’s school property tax stand

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Federal OK means 500,000 working poor Pennsylvanians eligible for health coverage
Morning Call: Bob Casey says volunteer program could ease burden of caring for aging relatives
Express Times: ‘We’re not afraid of the chief,’ Nazareth councilman says, declines cupcake
Express Times: Allentown teachers union president condemns superintendent for environment of ‘disrespect and incompetence’
Express Times: Lehigh County budget has no tax hike, official vows not to sell Cedarbrook
Reading Eagle: No hacks reported at Berks County banks
Reading Eagle: Reading School District finalizes pact with superintendent
Reading Eagle: Wolf maintains big lead over Corbett in governor’s race, F&M poll finds
WFMZ: Poll shows Tom Wolf maintaining lead over Tom Corbett in race for Pennsylvania governor

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News Campaign ‘13 Blog: Corbett poll numbers low again
Centre Daily Times: State College Area School District fires back in College Heights lawsuit
Williamsport Sun Gazette: 220 Dilemma
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Mayor proposes baseball park enhancements
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Impact study release on hold

Opinion
Reading Eagle: Editorial: Could Ferguson happen here? Sessions make it less likely
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: Mandatory sentencing didn’t work as planned
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: Mandatory minimum sentence still a valuable tool
York Dispatch: EDITORIAL: NAACP takes the lead in community-police relations
Harrisburg Patriot News: Scranton’s pension fund will be broke in 3-5 years, report: Thursday Morning Coffee
Harrisburg Patriot News: The race for Guv is going to tighten up, right? Right?: John L. Micek
Pottstown Mercury: Chesco Democrats continue to fight among themselves
Daily News: The riots & other forces hurt North Philly, but it is working to jump back
Tribune Review: The IRS scandal: Do the Lois Lerner emails still exist?
Times Leader: Can the Fed solve unemployment?
Express Times: EDITORIAL: Parental irresponsibility, lax gun law add up to tragedy in Arizona
Morning Call: Margaret Carlson: Rick Perry’s comeback headed off at the pass
Erie Times-News: Our View: We can’t become numb to gun violence
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Ferguson: A tragic loss balloons into an unneeded confrontation

Blogs
Keystone Politics: #PAGov: Doing Medicaid the Corbett Way Imposes Hefty Corruption Tax on PA Taxpayers
Keystone Politics: PA Working Families Makes its First Endorsement
PA Budget and Policy Center: GIVING AWAY THE GOLDEN EGG: SHALE TAX REVENUE COULD TOP $1 BILLION BY 2015-16

PA-Gov: HHS Accepts Corbett’s Medicaid Plan

GovernorCorbettThe Department of Health and Human Services announced today their acceptance of Governor Corbett’s HealthyPA plan.

The HealthyPA plan was created by Gov. Corbett as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

To put it succinctly, the ACA allowed for an expansion of Medicaid to families making 133% of the poverty line. The Supreme Court decision upholding the law, though, allowed for states to choose to opt-out of the expansion. As a result, many red states refused the money.

Gov. Corbett proposed his own HealthyPA plan, which would involve accepting the funds from the government but only allowing them to be spent on private insurance plans and not Medicaid. Similar proposals by Arkansas and Iowa have received federal approval.

There are still nonetheless several logistical barriers to implementation.

For one, Tom Wolf is likely to oppose any effort to adopt this private plan and will pledge to adopt the federal Medicaid expansion if he should be elected.

This development may scare off insurance companies, who would be hesitant to build up infrastructure for a plan that may not see the light of day. It’s possible that these companies will take a wait and see approach and allow the election to take place before making any major moves.

The Pennsylvania Health Action Network (PHAN) applauded the decision but called for a full Medicaid expansion.

“Today’s agreement begins to dig Pennsylvania out of the hole Governor Corbett and lawmakers created when they rejected funding to expand health care coverage to half-a-million low-income Pennsylvanians,” said PHAN Director Antoinette Kraus. “There never should have been a coverage gap in Pennsylvania, and we share the relief of hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians in knowing it’s finally on track to close.”

Therefore, well this is a major development it very well may not be the last one.

Update: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf released the following statement:

“It is unfortunate that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians lost a year of health care coverage, but I am gratified that they and their families will now have added health and economic security.”

“After standing in the way of Medicaid expansion for years, Tom Corbett has finally been forced by political reality to accept a Medicaid proposal.”

“Tom Corbett’s unconscionable delay has cost Pennsylvania hundreds of millions of dollars while making it more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to get the health care they needed.”

“Tom Corbett should have expanded Medicaid on day one instead of wasting two years. Tom Corbett’s repeated mismanagement is completely unacceptable, and it underscores the importance of giving Pennsylvania a fresh start.”

Staff Profile: Tom Wolf’s Campaign Team

Meet the staffers who are working to elect Tom Wolf as Governor of the state of Pennsylvania.

Mary Isenhour, Senior Political Strategist

Isenhour joined the Wolf campaign in May 2013 as a senior advisor. She served as Executive Director of the PA Democratic Party under Chairman TJ Rooney during Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration. She was PA State Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Primary campaign and directed the PA Democratic Party’s successful 2006 Coordinated Campaign for Gov Rendell and Senator Casey. A native Kansan, Isenhour came to Pennsylvania in 1999 via Washington DC. She is a partner with Isenhour Rooney Strategies.

Obie Kernodle, Deputy Campaign Manager and Political Director

Obra “Obie” Kernodle worked this past fall to re-elect President Obama as Southeastern Political Director in Pennsylvania. He has also worked in the administration and campaign of Mayor Michael Nutter and the campaigns of District Attorney Seth Williams and Dan Onorato for Governor. Obie attended Florida A&M and graduated in 2001.

Reid Walsh, Director of Operations

A native of York, Reid attended the University of Delaware. She graduated with a degree in Communications. After college, she served a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps running a youth drop-in center in downtown Phoenix. Reid spent 13 plus years in the DC area where she worked at PBS, most recently as a Senior Director in the Business Affairs/Program Management Department. Reid moved back to Pennsylvania with her husband to raise her children (Sadie 2, James 1) and quickly began work on the Wolf campaign as Director of Operations.

Rachel Weiser, Finance Director

Rachel started out in Texas politics working on Ron Kirk’s bid for the U.S. senate in 2002. Most recently, Rachel worked as the Midwest Finance Director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and previously as the Northeast Deputy Finance Director with some time in between with Senator Franken of Minnesota.

Other political stints include National Political Outreach & Development for the American Association for Justice in DC spearheading numerous fundraising campaigns and time at Yost Gold Consulting working with various clients that included the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Motion Picture Association of America, Cablevision, South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, ActBlue and Share Our Strength.

Rachel is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Government, Minor in English and Bridging Discipline in Environment.

Sarah Galbally, Policy Director

A Pennsylvania native, Sarah has experience in both the government and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining Tom Wolf’s campaign for governor, Sarah was finishing up graduate school and working at the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. Sarah has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.P.A. from Villanova University.

Ryan Alexander, Digital Director

Originally from California, Ryan has been working on political campaigns for several years at the national and statewide level. Prior to joining Tom Wolf for Governor in July of 2013, Ryan worked for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Chicago as an email writer on the Digital team. He previously led the digital operations for Tom Barrett for Wisconsin, the Recall Scott Walker campaign, and served as the Deputy Communications Director for the Wisconsin Assembly Democrats. In addition to his political work, Ryan was previously a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton where he advised the Department of Defense and U.S. Army on social media and communications. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Marquette University.

Joe Shafer, Campaign Manager

Shafer comes from Bradford County and was named campaign manager of the Wolf campaign back in April 2013. He ran the successful 2011 special election and 2012 general election for West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Shafer has also worked for the DCCC and was Executive Director of the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) in 2008.

Mark Nicastre, Communications Director

Mark joined up with the Wolf campaign last year. He previously served as Communications Director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in 2010 and 2012. After the 2012 elections, he was promoted to Deputy Executive Director of the PA Dems.

Jeff Sheridan, Press Secretary

Jeff Sheridan joined the Wolf Campaign in January 2014 and has a comprehensive background in communications. Before joining the Wolf Campaign, Jeff worked in public relations at HealthNow New York. Jeff began his career in politics working nearly 6 years for Representative Louise Slaughter and then as a District Director for Representative Kathleen Hochul. Jeff is from Morrisville, New York and currently lives in Philadelphia.

PA-Gov: Corbett Ties Wolf to Rendell, Obama in New Ad (VIDEO)

This morning, we found out that the Corbett-Cawley campaign is 25 points behind their opponent. A few hours later, their toughest attack ad yet was released. This is probably not a coincidence.

The new commercial, titled “Threepeat”, seeks to associate Tom Wolf with former Governor Ed Rendell and President Obama.

“We already know that Tom Wolf was Ed Rendell’s tax-collecting hatchet man,” the man in the spot says. “Millionaire Wolf is also a maxed-out donor to Obama.”

The ad then proceeds to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Wolf, accusing him of wanting to take away patients rights to see their doctors, supporting a “radical” gun-control agenda and waging a “war” on coal.

“Tom Wolf,” the man concludes “voting for him is like voting to give Obama and Rendell a third term.”

It’s unclear how effective this ad will be because it depends in large part on scaring voters away by pointing out Wolf’s ties to Pres. Obama and former Gov. Rendell. No recent polls have been taken that indicate what Rendell’s approval in PA is, although the President’s stands at a low 34% (yet Gov. Corbett stands even lower at 24%).

Moreover, even if Obama and Rendell are less than universally beloved by PA voters, those voters still voted to give both candidates first and second terms. Therefore, the threat that Wolf would represent a “third term” may not have the resonance the Corbett campaign hopes it will.

Of course, it is also possible that this ad is meant to rally Republican voters behind the Governor. The recent F&M poll found Corbett is only supported by 48% of Republican voters. At this stage of the game, though, he should already have his base in the bag and be shifting his focus to independent voters. Whether this ad works on them will be the ultimate test of its effectiveness.

Update: Wolf campaign Press Secretary Jeffrey Sheridan issued the following response to PoliticsPA:

“The latest attack ad is just more desperation from Tom Corbett and more of the same discredited lies.

“Tom Wolf is a successful businessman from York County who supports the second amendment. Tom knows that coal is a vital part of Pennsylvania’s energy portfolio and a thriving energy sector future will lead to a stronger economy in Pennsylvania and create jobs. Tom’s plan for the state will also give middle-class families a tax cut for the first time in over 22 years and level the playing field for Pennsylvania families.”

“False ads cannot make up for four years of failed policies including $1 billion in education cuts, stagnant job growth, and a multitude of ethics scandals. It’s clear that Pennsylvania needs a fresh start.”

F&M Poll: President Obama’s Approval Rating Steady at 34%

Barack ObamaThroughout his presidency, President Obama’s approval ratings have been uncommonly steady. That is no different in the Keystone State.

The latest Franklin and Marshall poll found the President with a 34% approval rating among Pennsylvanians, the exact same number from June.

Obama’s ratings are hurt by the fact that just 56% of Democrats say he is doing an “excellent” or “good” job. Only 21% of independents answered that way as well.

According to a graph provided by the polling institution, Pres. Obama’s approval rating has remained roughly in the mid-30’s to mid-40’s in the F&M polls since the initial honeymoon phase of his presidency ended about five months in. At the moment, his numbers are slightly higher than George W. Bush’s were at this point in his presidency.

Besides Democratic respondents, Obama’s rating stands at 50% or above for the following groups: Extremely Liberal (55%), Somewhat Liberal (63%), Nonwhite (68%) and Philadelphia residents (50%).

Interestingly, there is a rather large gender gap with 44% of women saying he’s done an “excellent” or “good” job compared to 24% of men.

One silver lining for Democratic candidates worried about the President’s effect on this year’s elections is that Obama still has an approval rating ten points higher than Governor Corbett.

This poll surveyed 520 Pennsylvanians and was conducted from August 18 to 25. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.3%.

PA-Gov: Internal Memo: Corbett Down 7 Points

With more troubling polling news emerging, the Corbett campaign is diligently working on predicting Election Day turnout.

Sources provided PoliticsPA with an internal Corbett campaign memo that discusses the various election models that BehaviorMatrix has forecast for November 4th.

“BehaviorMatrix collected and analyzed actual voter turnout data from the past three gubernatorial off year elections in Pennsylvania,” the memo reads. “The model uniquely matches retrospective results with likely voters, and further defines eligible voters as part of its calculus.”

In contrast to most polls which survey registered voters, the BehaviorMatrix model seeks to narrow its focus towards likely voters. After studying the last three gubernatorial elections, the model projects an electorate close to the 2002 election.

“As for the 2014 election, BehaviorMatrix’s model predicts a much closer race,” they write. “The predicted turnout of likely voters is estimated at 3,920,229 voters with the Governor trailing Wolf by 7 points instead of 20.”

“As mentioned above, the campaign needs to focus on the same counties that Rendell used to win in 2002,” it continues. “The campaign needs to focus on increasing favorability or demotivating oppositional turnout in the following counties: Philadelphia (trailing by 72) Montgomery (trailing by 28), Lackawanna (trailing by 26), Bucks (trailing by 20), Northampton (trailing by 13), Chester (trailing by 12), Luzerne (trailing by 12), Allegheny (trailing by 10), and Fayette (trailing by 8).”

Finally, the document contains county maps of the 2014 projection compared to the results in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Corbett Maps

County-by-County breakdown of 2014 model as well as 2010, 2006 and 2002 gubernatorial results

It’s clear from this memo that the Corbett-Cawley team believe they have still have a reliable path to victory.

Update: Below are some better resolution photos of the maps:

2014 Corbett Map

2010 Corbett Map

2006 Rendell Map

2002 Rendell Map

PA-Gov: F&M Poll: Wolf 49 Corbett 24

Tom-WolfAfter a long summer of ads and attacks, the Governor’s race is almost exactly the same as it was roughly two months ago.

The latest Franklin and Marshall poll was released today and it shows Tom Wolf holding a 49% to 24% lead over Gov. Tom Corbett. 25% of respondents were undecided.

This actually marks a small improvement for the Democratic candidate since June, when he held a 47-25 advantage.

Wolf’s lead holds throughout every age, income, religious, regional, racial, educational or gender status. Additionally he holds a 34 point lead among Independents (53-19) and a whopping 46 point advantage among moderates (59-13).

At least a partial explanation of these results can be found in the Governor’s approval ratings. Just 24%, less than one in four, of respondents feel Gov. Corbett is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as Governor. The GOP Governor holds just a 40% approval rating among Republicans. Even worse, only 26% feel he has done well enough to warrant re-election.

Meanwhile, 61% believe the state is “off on the wrong track.”

These results are particularly devastating for the Corbett-Cawley camp because they come after a period in which the Republican nominee unleashed far more ads than his opponent. They don’t seem to have done the Gov any good, in fact they may have been harmful.

F&M found 82% of respondents had seen a commercial for both candidates. They asked these people what the viewer recalled most from those ads. For Corbett’s spots, 27% remembered the negative tone. For Wolf’s spots, negativity finished third behind his business location and background.

Perhaps the best example of the Governor’s difficulties involves guns. Last week, the PA GOP made a big deal about a supposed gaffe from Wolf concerning gun owners. Yet the Democratic nominee leads even among this traditionally conservative group (40% to 36%).

Of course, there is still some time left and a large number of respondents are undecided. The possibility that every undecided voter will turn to Gov. Corbett, though, is quite remote. Currently, 24% of Republicans support Wolf and it would not be surprising to see that number come down as the faithful rally behind their candidate. The Democrat’s margin is still likely to narrow in the coming weeks and months. The Governor, however, must find a method to further chip away at his opponent’s lead and fast, or else he won’t hold that title much longer.

This poll surveyed 520 Pennsylvanians and was conducted from August 18 to 25. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.3%.

8/28 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Fattah’s ex-staffer pleads guilty, Planned Parenthood goes after Corbett and McGarrigle supports a severance tax. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-2: Fattah’s Ex-Chief of Staff Pleads Guilty: The Congressman’s former staffer admitted to falsifying campaign finance records and lying to the FBI.

PA-Gov: Planned Parenthood Hits Corbett with Top Ten List: The organization’s political action committee is counting down their top ten reasons to oppose Gov. Corbett’s re-election.

SD-26: McGarrigle Announces Support for Severance Tax: The Republican State Senate candidate unveiled his proposal in an op-ed for the Delco Daily Times.

Statewide
State House Sound Bites: Study: cost of charter schools “obvious and escalating”
State House Sound Bites: Teachers union says less money = lower test scores
PA Independent: Philly family lost house over $40 drug purchase
StateImpactPA: Report: Pa. attorney general widens investigation into gas royalty complaints
PLSReporter: A LOOK BACK with Sen. Edwin Erickson (R-Delaware)
Capitolwire: More money, less problems? The relationship between test scores and basic ed funding levels

Philadelphia
WHYY Newsworks: Philly VA hosts town hall meetings, denies likening vets to Oscar the Grouch
KYW Newsradio: Girl abducted from West Philadelphia School testifies
Philly.com: Racial disparities continue in Philly marijuana arrests
Philly.com: Lawsuits against allegedly dirty narcs could mean millions in city payouts
The Inquirer: Taney team feels its city’s jubilant embrace

SEPA
Delco Daily Times: Delco Republicans call out Wolf on tax returns
Montgomery Media: Greater Philadelphia chapter of ALS Association in Lower Gwynedd overwhelmed by Ice Bucket Challenge
Bucks Local News: Wrightstown Elementary advocates bring facts, figures to the Council Rock School Board
Daily Local News: Judge bars changes at Pa. school for disadvantaged
Daily Local News: Former Downingtown East soccer player files lawsuit

Pittsburgh
City Paper: Declining Diversity: In the wake of Ferguson, activists look at Pittsburgh’ own failures in police diversity
Post-Gazette: City of Pittsburgh school tax breaks approved by board
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh to get lowest interest rate ever for bonds, director says
Tribune Review: Biden in Pittsburgh Thursday for fundraiser
Tribune Review: Dem Wolf eyes shale’s ‘golden egg’ to boost school funding
Tribune Review: Public Utility Commission hearing arguments against Lyft
KDKA: Parents, State Sen. Fight For Legalization Of Pot To Treat Epilepsy

Southwest
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Cambria chief clerk expected to step down Thursday
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Talks on Pa. Medicaid plan said to be nearing end
Observer-Reporter: Ringgold teachers ratify contract
Altoona Mirror: Judge makes ruling in city suit
Altoona Mirror: Council working on dog ordinance

NEPA
Times-Tribune: Scranton pension funds will be broke in 3 to 5 years
Citizens’ Voice: Arguments heard in fight over flood fee
Pocono Record: Jobless rates inch up slightly in Monroe, Pike

South Central
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: City library says no to countywide fundraising plan
Harrisburg Patriot News: A state of bootleggers? Pa. lawmaker wants to make cross-border wine, booze purchases legal
Harrisburg Patriot News: School leaders hitting the road to rally support for a new school funding formula
Roxbury News: Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse – National Civil War Museum.
Roxbury News: Harrisburg City Treasurer charged with theft from Non-Profit Organization.

Lehigh Valley
Express Times: Easton Councilman Jeff Warren announces resignation
Express Times: Northampton County Councilman wants to limit executive’s spending ability
Reading Eagle: City zoning board hears dispute between I-LEAD Charter School and Reading School District
Reading Eagle: Reading Branch of NAACP pushes to ‘ban the box’
Reading Eagle: Reading’s Main Street board appoints its chairman
WFMZ: Senator Casey unveils Caregiver Corps bill in Easton

North by Northwest
Williamsport Sun Gazette: A COSTLY NECESSITY
Williamsport Sun Gazette: County to benefit from updated transportation plan
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Gas industry impact study will be revealed on Thursday
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Commissioner has concern about county’s financial future
Erie Times-News: Campaign ‘14 Blog: Strano Taylor commemorates 19th Amendment
Centre Daily Times: Centre County set to seize tower land
Onward State: Report: Penn State Has a ‘Strong Case’ For Bowl Ban Elimination

Opinion
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Corbett’s formula easy to criticize, but the correct path
Tribune Review: Merging school districts? Some fundamental criteria
Post-Gazette: Don’t delete: Accountability for state officials begins with email
Times-Tribune: Too much secrecy in PSU cases
Daily Local News: A President’s legacy in question
Delco Daily Times: Tom Corbett, meet Tom McGarrigle; now talk
Reading Eagle: Editorial: Spencer must do his job, sign lease with water authority
Express Times: EDITORIAL: Too many unanswered questions on proposed pipeline
Centre Daily Times: Their View | Rep. Glenn Thompson advocates ‘bad old days’

Blogs
Citizens’ Call: Going Global at Curtis Hall
Lu-Lac Political Letter: DOWN ON THE FARM WITH THE LUZERNE COUNTY GOP

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