HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett's lead over his Democratic opponent has narrowed to just five percentage points, according to a new poll.

Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County executive, has erased most of the Pennsylvania attorney general's previous 15-point lead and now trails Corbett 49 percent to 44 percent, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University survey released Friday.

An earlier poll by the university, conducted Sept. 21, had Corbett with a 54 to 39 percent advantage.

"As we get closer to Election Day, Democrats are showing more interest in voting. This is often the case in off-year elections and that makes this a more competitive race," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

"Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato has the momentum, but Attorney General Tom Corbett still has the five-point lead with 11 days to go."

There are about 4,310,000 million registered Democrats in Pennsylvania, compared with about 3,130,000 million Republicans and 509,000 unaffiliated voters, according to the Department of State's website.

According to Friday's poll results, Corbett leads 86-7 among Republicans and 58-32 among independent voters, while Onorato is ahead 87-9 among Democrats. Only 6 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

Meanwhile, 16 percent of Onorato voters and 14 percent of Corbett backers say they might change their minds before Election Day.

The new poll also found Corbett leads 72-22 among the 21 percent of Pennsylvania voters who say they are "angry" with state government.

Brown, of the Hamden, Conn., polling institute, said the voters' choice for governor is tied strongly to their view of the economy.

Among those who think the economy is improving, Onorato holds an overwhelming 85-12 lead. But only 14 percent think the economy is getting better, while 35 percent see it getting worse, the survey said. Corbett cleans up 71-20 among that group.

Onorato holds a narrow 48-45 lead among the 49 percent who think the economy is staying the same.

By a 49-42 percent, likely voters said Corbett more shares their values. On the economy, 49 percent say Corbett is best able to rebuild the Keystone State's ailing economy, while 40 percent say it is Onorato.

Both candidates seek to replace Ed Rendell, a Democrat who couldn't run because of term limits, in the Nov. 2 election.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,046 likely voters in Pennsylvania from Oct. 13-17, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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