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%.