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PPP Poll: Corbett 51, Castor 11 in GOP Primary

Castor Corbett debate 2004
Corbett (left) and Castor at a 2004 AG debate

If Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor decides to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett in next year’s Republican primary, he will have some catching up to do.

The latest survey from Public Policy Polling, obtained by PoliticsPA, shows the Governor ahead by a 44 point margin, 51 percent to 11 percent.

This poll reflects the fact that Castor’s name ID falls far short of Corbett’s. But perhaps more importantly, the Governor is having a hard time consolidating his party’s support. Less than half of Republicans – 45 percent – said they’d like Corbett to be the GOP nominee in 2014. 37 percent said they want someone else.

Only 54 percent of Republicans said they approve the job he’s doing as Governor. 31 percent disapprove.

The crosstabs tell an interesting story. Corbett does well among self-identified “very conservative” voters, whom he wins 50 percent to 28 against a generic GOP opponent (“someone else”).  He does the worst against “somewhat liberal” Republicans (who he loses 70 percent to 23).

That leaves a tough choice ahead for Castor: should he run to Corbett’s left or right? Moderate and liberal Republicans more strongly dislike Corbett, but represent a smaller part of the party base. Conservatives represent more voters and give Corbett higher scores – although their support is soft.

Corbet’’s gender gap – well documented in polls of the general electorate – hurts him in the GOP, too. 47 percent of GOP women say they’re undecided between the two (42 percent for Corbett, 11 for Castor), compared to just 29 percent of men (59 percent for Corbett, 12 for Castor).

Castor, who lost to Corbett in the 2004 primary for Pa. Attorney General, said in December that he was considering a 2014 challenge.

In important issue in 2014 will be the Penn State Scandal. Only 42 percent of Republicans approve of the way that Corbett has handled the issue as AG or Governor, compared to 33 percent who disapprove (though they strongly support his lawsuit against the NCAA, 67 percent to 19).

Finally, a majority of Pa. Republicans support some form of legal recognition of same sex relationships. 14 percent support full marriage equality; 39 percent said gay couples should be allowed civil unions but not marriages. 45 percent said there should be no legal status at all.

The Republicans polled were a subset of the firm’s Jan. 4 to 6 poll of 675 registered Pa. voters. 38 percent of those, or around 257 respondents, were Republicans. That means the margin of error for the Corbett-Castor head to head is about 6 percent.

Here’s the memo, obtained by PoliticsPA.

PPP’s Jan. 2013 Pa. GOP Poll by

11 Responses

  1. It looks like this means that Corbett will win a primary challenge but barely. I am curious to see how many Democrats would be willing to vote for him. Although the demise of the Republican party is overblown, the demise of Tom Corbett is dead on!

  2. One point may be of-interest to politicos, and that is the need to challenge the assumption that Castor–were he to run–would have to place himself somewhere definable on the political spectrum, relative to Corbett.

    He could be more “conservative” dealing with unions and more “liberal” dealing with [gay] civil unions.

    Otherwise, the reader is referred to other pages on this website for data which fleshed-out, in particular the “Tom [Corbett] and Jerry [Sandusky] Show” concern.

  3. Anything on the lottery Gov Corporate gave away? Anyways here is another take from the post gazette:
    Voters saddle Gov. Corbett with dismal midterm grade
    January 13, 2013 By James O’Toole / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    “A Public Policy Polling survey noted that voters gave him some of the lowest approval numbers of any incumbent the organization has tested across the country. Although his decision to sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association over the draconian sanctions it imposed on Penn State University has proved popular with the state’s voters (despite widespread condemnation by editorial boards), the support for his legal decision has not translated to a boost in his personal popularity. According to the archives of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, his midterm job performance numbers were the lowest approval of any recent Pennsylvania governor.”- PG

  4. Corbett has been in state elective office of 10 years in the two highest profile jobs. Castor has been OUT of state politics for 10 years and is at 11 to Corbett barely cracking 50 IN HIS OWN PARTY PRIMARY! 55% of his own party’s voters want someone else nominated? Castor issues a press release and is now raised in the dialogue to the same level as the governor. How is this not great for Castor, who can only go up, and a disaster for Corbett? Oh, and nice picture.

  5. No worries. Word is Steve Welch is taking the year off to stump for him.

    “Thanks, my boy,” said Guv.

  6. 45% Republican Support? Corbett is not likely to survive a primary yikes the hacks are wetting their pants. Should we buy stock in Depends?

  7. 51% in a GOP primary against, essentially a regional candidate? That means in his own party 49% are NOT for Corbett. Bad news for an incumbent with universal name ID among Republicans. Better start looking for another candidate.

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    Total Voters: 231

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