Meet The Most Vulnerable Governor In America

Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett:

Pennsylvania GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has been in trouble all year, and a new poll out Tuesday suggests he’s trailing even the unknown Democratic candidates by double digits.

The poll, from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, finds Corbett behind his potential Democratic challengers by anywhere from 12 to 20 percentage points.

He trails both state Treasurer Rob McCord and former state Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger by 19 points, both Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former state Environmental Protection Director Katie McGinty by 15 points and both Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and businessman Tom Wolf by 12 points. He also trails former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, who hasn’t entered the race but is considering a bid, by 20 points.

Corbett’s approval ratings have also taken a further hit, per the poll: Just 24 percent of those surveyed approve of his job performance, compared with 65 percent who disapprove. PPP’s previous poll had his approval rating at 33 percent, with a 58 percent disapproval rating.

Corbett has been viewed as arguably the most vulnerable incumbent governor in 2014 and tops national Democrats’ list of targets for next year. Observers say his unpopularity in the state is a big part of why he’s drawn such a big field of Democratic challengers.

In the Democratic race, PPP finds Schwartz leading the pack with 21 percent, followed by Wagner at 17 percent, McCord at 10 percent, McGinty at 9 percent, Hanger at 8 percent and the other candidates at 4 percent or less. More than a quarter of Democratic primary voters, 27 percent, said they’re undecided.

This is hardly surprising. Corbett has been performing badly in polling for much of 2013, and there’s even been talk, which seems to have been aborted, of Keystone State Republicans replacing him on the ticket.  Corbett isn’t the only vulnerable Republican Governor, of course. Florida’s Rick Scott, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, and Maine’s Paul LePage all seem to qualify as vulnerable as well, although they are all polling far better than Corbett is at the moment. Obviously, numbers can change as time goes on but Corbett has a pretty big hole to dig himself out of even if 2014 turns out to be a good year or the GOP. However, at some point Corbett will find himself in a hole that may be impossible to get out of.

FILED UNDER: 2014 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. PD Shaw says:

    Last year this title went to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who now has a 34% approval – 60% disapproval rating, an improvement over last year (25%-64%)

  2. edmondo says:

    Just to help sink Governor Mediocrity a little further – His previously approved gasoline tax increase just kicked in last week, raising gas prices by 12 cents a gallon.

    It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  3. al-Ameda says:


    Just to help sink Governor Mediocrity a little further – His previously approved gasoline tax increase just kicked in last week, raising gas prices by 12 cents a gallon.

    Gas Taxes are utilized to repair and maintain the roads that people drive on – is that 12 cents per gallon really that reprehensible? The concept is that the people who use the roads pay for the roads. Generally, I favor that.

  4. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @PD Shaw: Well, to be fair, he hasn’t yet been hit with a criminal prosecution which, by Springfield standards, means he isn’t fulfilling the requirements of the office.

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