To mimic Bill Clinton, it’s Corbett’s education record, stupid.
While there is some merit that Kathleen Kane’s well timed Jerry Sandusky report, like a week before the election, will harm Tom Corbett’s reelection ambitions, Corbett’s fate has been sealed since his attacks on public education and public higher education in his 2011 budget, and the latest round of polling shows this.
As everyone knows to this point, Governor Corbett proposed a 1.2 billion dollar cut to public education funding and threatened to cut public higher education spending by 50% in his inaugural budget. Instead, the Republican legislature gave the governor an $860,000,000 cut to public education and a 20% cut to public higher education, and since that time, the polling on what is “the most important problems facing Pennsylvania” in the Franklin and Marshall, and other polls, has been education. Before Governor Corbett took office, education was at 11 percent, and since May 2013, education has been hovering somewhere between 20 and 30 percent. And education has stayed there.
When the Raging Chicken Press reached out to Terry Madonna, the head pollster at Franklin and Marshall College, about education and where it has been polling in his polls and other polls for the prior year and a half, Madonna responded, “the perennial has been jobs, some aspect of the economy. At times crime has been in the top two,” and when talking about education, he says “we are in unchartered waters.”
In the latest Quinnipiac poll, 30 percent respondents who had a negative view of Governor Corbett said that education was their main concern, and in the polls crosstabs, Governor Corbett is getting his ass kicked in every region of the state and among those with and without a college degree.
When asked “regardless of who you may support, who do you think would do a better job handling education, Wolf or Corbett?” 62 percent of people with a college degree and 58% of people without a college degree agreed that Wolf will do a better job, whereas 25 percent with a degree and 26 without a degree think Corbett will do a better job. These numbers are similar along racial lines. White Pennsylvanians with a degree have Wolf doing a better job at 59 percent and Corbett at 27 percent, and African Americans agree with Wolf at 67 percent while Corbett is at 17 percent.
When looking at the geographic region, Wolf leads Corbett 57 / 59 percent to 22 / 30 percent across the state, with Philadelphia being the only outlier. Philadelphians agree with Wolf 67 percent of the while Corbett is pulling 17 percent.
Arguing that a Sandusky report released a week before the election will sink Corbett’s ship is nothing but rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. It’s Corbett’s education record that is the iceberg that doomed his voyage into a second term.