Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett enters his reelection campaign in a precarious position, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.
A majority of Pennsylvania voters don't think the Republican has earned another term, the poll shows. Fifty-one percent of respondents said Corbett doesn't deserve reelection, while 31 percent said the governor deserves to win a second term, and 18 percent are undecided. Just 49 percent of Republicans said Corbett deserves another four years.
Only one Democrat, former state Department of Environmental Protection secretary John Hanger, has officially launched a campaign to run against Corbett. But a handful of more high-profile Democrats, including state Treasurer Rob McCord and Rep. Allyson Schwartz, are considered potential candidates, and Corbett's lagging poll numbers could entice a top-tier recruit to enter the race.
Corbett's approval rating in the Quinnipiac poll is only one percentage point higher than his all-time low. Thirty-six percent of voters approve of the way the governor is handling his job, while 42 percent disapprove.
The governor continues to suffer from his association with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. His handling of the investigation as attorney general has won him criticism, and newly-elected Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane has promised to look into Corbett's role. In an attempt to turn the issue into a positive, Corbett filed a lawsuit against the NCAA earlier this month over the sanctions imposed on Penn State's football program as a result of the Sandusky affair. But Corbett's legal manuever doesn't appear to have helped his standing with the state's voters. Asked about the governor's handling of the Penn State situation over the last few years, 26 percent said they approved, while 50 percent said they disapproved. A slim plurality approves of the lawsuit, however.
The Quinnipiac poll, conducted Jan. 22-27, surveyed 1,221 registered voters. The survey has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.8 percentage points.