The voters in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party appear to be unifying behind Tom Wolf and this chart explains why Governor Corbett may be looking for a new job in January. Over the past three years, Franklin and Marshall polling (April 2014 numbers include the latest Muhlenberg / Morning Call Poll) has shown how education has become one of the “most important problems facing Pennsylvania.” Before Governor Corbett took office in 2011, education was only polling at 11 percent in this category, and that number stayed steady after the governor signed his first budget into law. However, a year into Governor Corbett’s first budget, which included a billion dollar cut to public education and higher education, those numbers began their steady ascent over 20 percent and have remained the top issue facing Commonwealth citizens since May 2013.
According to Franklin and Marshall pollster Terry Madonna, this type of polling for education is something he has never been seen heading into a gubernatorial election. Usually, “the perennial has been jobs, some aspect of the economy. At times crime has been in the top two,” and goes to say that “we are in unchartered waters.”
For some, like me, Governor Corbett’s attack on public education, and in my case, public higher education has cultivated a new generation of progressive activists. Over the past three years, the Governor has been met with protesters in places like Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading and everywhere in between those places. His cuts to public education has affected everyone, either through forcing local municipalities to raise their property taxes or by actually witnessing what is happening in some of the largest school districts in the state.