Harper Poll: Corbett Budget Talking Points Perform Well

Harper poll budget taxes july 2013In the wake of Gov. Tom Corbett’s failure to get his plans for liquor, pension and transportation across the finish line, he has emphasized the fact that the budget was on time and contained no tax increases. The latest survey by Republican firm Harper Polling shows why.

“The survey finds that two of the state budget’s key attributes play very well with voters. If voters know nothing else about the new budget except that it was on time and contained no tax increases, they will give it high marks,” wrote pollster Brock McCleary.

The poll did not test voter opinions about Corbett’s 0-for-3 record on his top stated priorities.

A wide majority of likely voters surveyed said having the budget on time was very important (67%) or somewhat important (19%). 10% said it was not important.

A similar majority said it was very important (56%) or somewhat important (23%) that the budget contained no tax increases for the third year in a row. 9% said it was not important.

A plurality, 37% of respondents, said the budget’s increase in public education funding was not enough. 33% said it was good. The “not good enough” response was strongest in eastern Pa. (Philadelphia, SEPA, Lehigh Valley and NEPA).

A majority of respondents, 60% to 29%, said they support a plan to require new state employees to participate in a 401k retirement plan as opposed to the current pension system.

Harper surveyed 813 likely voters via interactive voice response from July 1-2. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4%. 45% of respondents identified as Democrats and 42% as Republicans.

As with any survey conducted by a partisan pollster, the results should be taken with a grain of salt. The poll questions were phrased in such a way that maximize the semantic strength of Corbett’s case.

For example, part of the question about education funding included this sentence: “Some say the budget’s $120 million dollar increase in education spending, despite these tough economic times, is a good thing.” Had the pollster not supplied respondents the impressive-sounding funding increase number, answers might have come out differently.

Further, possible responses to that question included: “the education increase is good”; and “the education increase is not enough.” But those categories are not mutually exclusive. It is plausible that a voter might think the increase was good and also not enough.

In April Harper Polling conducted a survey for the UFCW 1776, the labor union most vocally opposed to Corbett’s effort to privatize the state’s liquor stores. The poll showed Corbett’s proposal with lagging popularity.

2 Responses

  1. Former Lower Merion Constable is Running for Governor on The Democratic Ticket

  2. The Hacks are publicly saying that Corbett hit a home run “3 for 3”. Privately, they read the polls the way I do. Team Corbett has struck out with voters. Corbett’s poll numbers have not improved in six months and there is no reason to think they will in the future. Team Corbett is dragged down by his own party leadership in Senate and House. When Joseph Scarnati, Dominic Pileggi, Sam Smith and Mike Turzai are your key allies, you campaign is in trouble. Performing his Constitutional duty to get a budget completed by June 30 is NOT A VOTE MOVER as the hacks know and as the polls show. It is a non-issue. Rendell got one budget done on time and he polls well and is politically popular.

    The key issue that distinguishes a Republican challenger from the Democrat, any Democrat, is Marcellus Shale.. To win, the Republican candidate will have to articulate principles and policies to favor the productive Taxpayer. To win, the Republican will have to take the Forgotten Taxpayer’s position against Unions who finance the Democrats and subvert the Republican message.

    The Republican will have to challenge the failed governance of Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and the Unions. The Republican will have to acknowledge, openly, the obvious point that blacks will NOT VOTE Republican under any circumstances because they perceive the Republican, or at least a significant segment as willing to cut off “free stuff” and they are right. The Forgotten Taxpayer pays for the “free stuff” and The Forgotten Taxpayer is running out of money.

    Only by promoting economic growth, that means, promoting Marcellus Shale, fewer taxes and simpler, predictable regulation can Pennsylvania grow. The alternative is that Pennsylvania becomes Philadelphia/Wilkes-Barre Scranton. Then those that can, pensioned school teachers and pensioned politicians, for example, will move to Florida.

    Every Democrat wants more taxes and more regulation of Marcellus Shale which can only depress production.

    The only Republican candidate who can do this will have to be an independent businessman familiar with growing a business and who can articulate a pro-growth pro taxpayer position and be willing to be attacked as a racist rich guy.

    On the social issues, the Texas compromise works. The prolife Texas abortion bill has exceptions for physical health of mother, rape, incest and severe physical abnormalities. This is a compromise to be sure whom, I think, many will find acceptable. A few pictures of what a late term and partial birth abortion are ought to educate some unfamiliar with these procedures.

    While marriage needs to be promoted, Gay Marriage is not a threat to the Republic and, in fact, there are many de facto Gay marriages not legally recognized and they have not undercut anyone’s morality.

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