The latest poll, a collaboration between Muhlenberg College and the Morning Call, finds Democratic nominee Tom Wolf with 51% and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett with 39%.
The twelve point gap in this poll, though, is a significant improvement for the incumbent, as Wolf led by twenty-one points in their September poll.
The Morning Call sees this change as a consequence of Republicans coming back home to Gov. Corbett and a greater focus among voters on taxes.
“We are seeing better Republican numbers and we are seeing traction on tax issues,” said Muhlenberg College pollster and political science professor Chris Borick.
32% of respondents said that taxes were the most important issue to them, with 23% saying education. This is a reversal from last month, when education finished first with 33% and taxes came in second with 18%.
“That’s one of the cool findings of the survey,” Borick said. “Right now the plurality of voters says taxes. And that’s good news for Gov. Corbett. The more he makes it about taxes, the better it is for his campaign.”
Obviously, the Governor’s negative ads have been working as Wolf’s favorables took a big hit. He went from a 51-25 favorable/unfavorable split in September to a 46-36 split in October.
Still, Corbett has just a 31% favorability rating with 53% having an unfavorable opinion of him. The Governor also has a very low 34% approval rating and over half, 52%, of respondents disapprove of his tenure.
The proof that Corbett’s tax message is working can be found in the crosstabs. Among voters who feel taxes are the most important issue, the Gov holds a 51-36 advantage. Wolf, though, holds a wide lead, 77-14, among voters who believe education is the most important issue.
Demographically, Wolf is ahead 52% to 35% among women and has a smaller edge among men, 49% to 43%.
As you would expect, Democrats favor Wolf (77%-15%) and Republicans favor Corbett (65%-21%). The Democrat, though, holds the lead among the all-important independents by a 57% to 33% margin.
This poll was conducted using live telephone interviews, it surveyed 409 likely voters and took place from October 27th to 29th. The margin of error is plus or minus 5%.