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Republican Gov. Tom Corbett remains far behind his Democratic rival Tom Wolf despite spending millions of dollars on television commercials this summer, according to a new voter poll.

The Franklin & Marshall College Poll, released this morning, is the first survey of Pennsylvania voters since the candidates started airing political commercials shortly after the 4th of July holiday weekend.

The results don't look good for Corbett, who could become the first incumbent governor to lose re-election in the modern era if he does not find a way to connect with voters before the Nov. 4 election. The F&M poll, as well as other polls, were highly accurate in predicting Wolf would win the Democratic primary election in May.

The latest F&M poll shows Wolf, a wealthy York businessman and former state Revenue secretary, holding a lead of 25 percentage points over Corbett, the former prosecutor-turned-governor.

The poll also found only one-in-four voters thinks Corbett deserves a second term.

Only 40 percent of Republicans rated Corbett as doing an "excellent" or "good" job in his first term, which began in January 2011.

Corbett's main public relations problem remains widespread anger over education funding cuts Corbett imposed in his first budget, 2011-12. - Morning Call, 8/28/14

The new poll has found Corbett's job approval rating dropped more:

Corbett's job approval also fell slightly over the two months, with the percentage of people who believe he's doing an excellent or good job falling from 26 to 24 percent. His lowest combined excellent and good rating was 16 percent, last August.

The percentage of voters who believe he's doing a fair job stayed steady at 39 percent since June, while those who said he was doing a poor job increased from 31 percent to 33 percent.

The top issues cited for his negative job ratings were education cuts, Corbett's decision not to impose a severance tax on gas-drilling companies, and economic issues.

Republican respondent Kenneth Holt of Delaware County said property tax is his primary concern.

While he doesn't think Corbett has "done too much" to address increasing school taxes, he said he trusts a conservative to handle the issue more than he trusts a Democrat.

Holt said he was one of the 26 percent of respondents who feel Corbett has done a good enough job to deserve re-election, while 64 percent said it's time for a change.

Among the 66 percent of voters who said they were unsure how they would vote, 28 percent said they were leaning toward Wolf and 13 percent said they were leaning toward Corbett.

With about two months remaining to change some minds, Corbett needs to improve how voters – both within and outside the GOP – perceive him, Madonna said.

"He has not improved his job performance and he has a Republican problem," Madonna said.

Corbett's campaign for pension reform hasn't resonated with enough voters despite his travels around the state and trying to link it to property tax, Madonna said.

The governor could focus on the $2.3 billion transportation bill he signed into law, capitalizing on the infrastructure that'll be improved as a result, Madonna said.

"I'm stunned that he hasn't talked about roads and bridges," he said. - The Patriot-News, 8/28/14

And the negative ads have done nothing to hurt Wolf's numbers:

Four out of five of the registered voters in the poll said they have seen campaign ads for both Corbett and Wolf. They recall Corbett's attacks on Wolf, mostly because Wolf's kitchen-cabinet-supply company in York is registered as a Delaware corporation.

That doesn't appear to have much of an impact on voters.

"The voters have made a judgment about Governor Corbett," pollster G. Terry Madonna said yesterday. "He has not given them a sufficient reason to change that judgment."

Support for Corbett is historically weak for a Pennsylvania governor seeking a second term.

"He faces the biggest uphill challenge of any incumbent governor seeking re-election in modern history," Madonna said. - Philadelphia Daily News, 8/28/14

Here's a little background on the attack ads:

About 8 in 10 voters have seen television spots for both candidates.

Corbett has run ads ripping Wolf for running a kitchen-cabinet company that is registered in Delaware, charging that he is taking advantage of a loophole to avoid Pennsylvania corporate taxes – though the governor has offered no proof. Wolf and the company have denied using the loophole, but have declined to release corporate tax records that could refute Corbett’s attack.

Other ads have seized on Wolf’s desire to change the state’s flat income-tax in order to tie the rate to income, so that wealthier taxpayers would pay more. Corbett’s campaign argues that the Wolf plan could hike the tax burden for households making as little as $70,000, which many consider a middle-class income.

The poll is based on live telephone interviews with 520 registered Pennsylvania voters, conducted between Aug. 18 and Monday. Results are subject to a sampling-error margin of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/28/14

It's very clear we are going to win this race but we have to make sure our base comes out to the polls so not only can we win the Governor's race but also the State Senate. So click here to donate and get involved with Wolf's campaign, State Senator Mike Stack's (D. PA) Lt. Governor campaign and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party so we can take back the State Senate:

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 08:23 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Southeastern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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