Thursday, April 28, 2011

Voters Send Mixed Messages on Spending Cuts

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Governor Tom Corbett’s disapproval rating has tripled since February. Its respondents also contradict themselves, on whether or not they want the Republican to cut state spending.

55 percent of the voters Quinnipiac surveyed think Pennsylvania’s $4.2 billion deficit should be balanced with cuts, not tax increases; but 52 percent disapprove of Corbett’s budget plan that does just that, and more than half say the budget isn’t fair to people like them. Assistant Polling Director Peter Brown sorted out the discrepancies. “People want spending cuts over tax increases, but when you confront them with specifics, they’re less supportive of those cuts,” he said.

Corbett’s approval rating stayed where it was two months ago, at 39 percent. But the number of people who disapprove of his job performance has grown from 11 to 37 percent, with about a quarter of voters undecided. “It’s not unreasonable to look at Corbett’s 39 percent approval, 37 percent job disapproval, and look at that as the base of the two parties,” said Brown. “I mean, it’s not exact, but it’s very similar. And the undecideds are all what we’d call swing voters.” Indeed, 64 percent of Republicans approve of Corbett’s job performance, while 55 percent of Democrats disapprove.

Brown said a bright spot for Corbett is the fact he’s more popular than Ohio and Florida’s freshman Republican governors. “Corbett has not yet, to the extent that some of the other Republican governors facing similar problems, alienated the middle, as has happened in some other states,” he said.

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