Democratic wins, Corbett unpopularity already put eyes on 2014

November 19. 2012 8:00AM - Last modified: November 19. 2012 8:29AM

Brent Burkey

Last week, I had already heard the stat that Gov. Tom Corbett would lose to a Democratic opponent – any Democrat would do apparently – by 10 points “if there was an election for governor today.”

Brent Burkey

But driving home the issue in the source Public Policy Polling document, which came out before the presidential election, is that only 16 percent of respondents indicated they were not sure which side they would choose.

In other words, the governor would need to figure out how to take about two-thirds of that 16 percent to win, all else remaining equal.

The poll, taken Nov. 2-3, surveyed 790 likely voters in Pennsylvania and had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Not surprisingly with those numbers, there are already multiple names in the mix of those who are considering a run to supplant the generic "Democratic opponent" moniker.

One of the most notable for readers here in the midstate and for those putting strong stock in business executive leadership experience is Tom Wolf, chairman and CEO of York-based The Wolf Organization Inc.

Wolf served as secretary of revenue under Gov. Ed Rendell before returning to his family's building products business, which started before the Civil War, in lieu of a run for governor. He then led an ambitious transformation in the toughest economy in memory.

Even without Corbett's low numbers, that all might look pretty appealing to a voter in the middle.

Another name of interest for the voter interested in business climate is a blast from the recent past for Harrisburg politicos: John Hanger, former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, who also served under Rendell.

Hanger, who was at the helm of environmental group PennFuture for 10 years, left to head DEP as Marcellus Shale natural-gas drilling was going from a relative unknown in the mainstream to an 800-pound guerilla in the state's politics and economy.

Corbett has indicated he will run again, and for now, about the only thing I can say based just on the numbers is that it's a good thing for the governor that his election isn't today.

Brent Burkey covers retail, tourism, and Lebanon and York counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at brentb@centralpennbusiness.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, @brentburkey.


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