PPP's first poll of the general election for Governor in Pennsylvania finds a race that isn't remotely competitive. Democratic challenger Tom Wolf leads Republican incumbent Tom Corbett 55/30. Wolf's 25 point lead has more than doubled from the 12 point advantage he had over Corbett on PPP's last poll of the state in November.
The biggest story in the race continues to be Corbett's unpopularity. Only 27% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 58% who disapprove. But Wolf is also proving to be an unusually strong Democratic candidate. He has a +27 net favorability rating, with 47% of voters seeing him favorably to only 20% with a negative opinion. His strong numbers with Democrats (68/10) are unsurprising given his margin of victory in the primary, but even with Republicans he comes close to breaking even at a 29/32 favorability.Wolf is winning over 24% of Republicans while losing just 10% of Democrats to Corbett, and he also has a 43 point lead with independents at 63/20.
One thing voters do agree with Tom Corbett on despite his overall unpopularity is the decision he made not to appeal the court decision legalizing gay marriage in Pennsylvania. 56% of voters say they agree with Corbett's decision to only 33% who disagree. Those numbers come among growing acceptance for gay marriage in Pennsylvania- for the first time in PPP's polling a plurality of voters in the state support it with 48% in favor to 44% who remain opposed. That represents a 20 point net shift on attitudes toward gay marriage in the state over the last two and a half years. In November of 2011 we found just 36% of voters supported it with 52% believing it should remain illegal.
There may not be much excitement in the Governor's race yet, but early indications are that Pennsylvania could be in for an exciting Senate race in 2016. Both of Pennsylvania's Senators have pretty low profiles- Bob Casey has a 33/31 approval rating, and Pat Toomey's is 31/34. Toomey would be locked in close battles for reelection with several of his potential challengers- he trails Kathleen Kane 42/40 and leads Katie McGinty 42/38, Joe Sestak 41/35, and Josh Shapiro 41/32. The Democrats pull varying levels of support depending on their name recognition, but Toomey's position in the low 40s is steady across the board.
Full results here