Finally, some good news for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in his re-election battle. A CBS/New York Times poll shows him pulling to within single digits of Democratic rival Tom Wolf, who has led Corbett by 20 points or more in previous independent polls.
The new poll shows Corbett within nine points, trailing 42 to 33 percent. Undecideds lean more toward Wolf — and when those leaners are figured in, Wolf’s margin is a more comfortable 13-point spread, 52 to 39 percent.
The poll is done differently from most political surveys, which rely on phone interviews of voters selected by random dialing or chosen from voter lists. The CBS/Times poll gets online opinions from a large, pre-selected group of voters.
I asked Muhlenberg College analyst and pollster Christopher Borick what he made of it. He said it’s not surprising that the race might tighten, though he’ll be interested to see if the results are confirmed in other surveys.
“It’s a bit of good news for Tom Corbett, who’s been looking for any type of good news. I think he can use results like this to make the case that he’s competitive, and he’s relevant in this race,” Borick said.
Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall said he was “not comfortable talking about an internet poll.” He noted that it’s based on a “non-probability” sample, one in which people can volunteer to participate. You can see a discussion of the issue of how to poll in the cell phone, internet age here.
The Wolf campaign chose not to question the validity of the survey, but said in a statement that “there will be a lot of polls, with varying numbers, between now and Election Day.”
Though it’s only July, the state’s airwaves have been sizzling with attack ads. Corbett accuses Wolf of wanting to raise taxes. Two independent Democratic-leaning groups have hammered Corbett on education funding.