Corbett defeat set in motion years ago, analyst says

     Gov. Tom Corbett concedes defeat to Tom Wolf Tuesday night. (Gene J. Puskar/ AP photo)

    Gov. Tom Corbett concedes defeat to Tom Wolf Tuesday night. (Gene J. Puskar/ AP photo)

    Analysts are chalking up Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s loss on Tuesday to several factors that became apparent early on in his tenure.


    The seeds of the governor’s defeat were sown years ago, with his first attempt to close a multibillion-dollar state deficit by cutting spending along with business taxes.

    Corbett never really survived his first year in terms of job performance, according to Terry Madonna, Franklin and Marshall College pollster.

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    “It was never really strong to begin with … It dropped into the 30s and remained pretty static.,” he said.

    Many governors have had to rebound from low approval ratings in their first year in office. But Corbett failed to secure his major policy priorities because of the fractious Republican majorities in the state House and Senate.

    On top of it all, said Madonna, the governor failed to communicate to the public and sell his proposals.

    “If times are bad, people are struggling, you’d better explain to people what you’re trying to do and relate to them,” Madonna said. “And Gov. Corbett admitted he didn’t do that well.”

    The result was persistently low job-performance ratings in the polls.

    That unpopularity made it easier for Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf to cast himself as an alternative, Madonna said, even though he offered scant details on some of his policy proposals, such as his plans for new taxes.

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