Corbett looking good for home stretch

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 22, 2010, 11:00am


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett enters the final six weeks of the state's gubernatorial race with a 15-point edge, according to a recent survey.

A Quinnipiac University survey found the Republican Corbett leading Democrat Dan Onorato, of Brighton Heights, 54 percent to 39 percent among likely voters.

"Attorney General Tom Corbett is in a strong position to be Pennsylvania's next governor," said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac's polling institute.

"Not only is his lead substantial, but his supporters are slightly less likely to say they might change their minds than are Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato's," he said.

Corbett also has more than twice as much money as Onorato, according to recent campaign contributions records.

His campaign finance report, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Wednesday, showed $7.7 million in the bank, compared to his opponent's $3.4 million.

According to Corbett's finance report, he raised $6 million during the June 8 to Sept. 13 period. That included $1 million raised at 12 events in the period's final week, his campaign spokesman Kevin Harley told the newspaper.

Corbett also has a 56 percent to 29 percent lead among independents, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

The polling institute surveyed 684 likely voters in the state from Sept. 15-19. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Brown said only 7 percent of voters are undecided, meaning Onorato must win all of those voters and convert Corbett supporters as well.

"An Onorato victory probably would require a sea change among independent voters who are now strongly in Corbett's camp and often are the group that decides elections," Brown said.

Corbett leads Onorato 88 to 9 percent among Republicans and trails 84 to 10 percent among Democrats. Meanwhile, the survey shows, Corbett is winning men 65 to 29 percent and Onorato is ahead among women 52 to 39 percent.

The attorney general also leads his opponent when it comes to rebuilding the state's economy, handling its budget problems and sharing voters' values, the survey -- conducted by live interviewers -- found.

Brown said current Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, isn't helping Onorato's cause either.

"Likely voters disapprove 57 to 35 percent of the job Rendell is doing. In an election year that is showing strong signs of having an anti-incumbent, anti-Democratic tide, Onorato's party tie to the unpopular incumbent may be a problem," Brown said.

The poll is the first general election survey of likely voters in the state in this election cycle and cannot be compared to earlier surveys of registered voters, the polling institute noted.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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