Did Philly fizzle in Wolf election?

    There was considerable interest in the Philadelphia vote in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election for a couple of reasons.

    First, Democrat Tom Wolf had declined to give “street money” to help fund city ward leaders Election Day field effort, and there was some grumbling in the ranks about it.

    Second, many expected a robust turnout from Philadelphia anyway because of anger at incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett over education spending. So did Philly deliver?

    Not really. About 44,000 fewer Philadelphians showed up to vote Tuesday than cast votes four years ago when western Pennsylvania Democrat Dan Onorato lost to Corbett.

    Those who did vote gave Wolf a big margin of course, because it’s such a heavily Democratic city. In  fact, the margin for Wolf was higher than it was for Onorato because Corbett fared so poorly. But it turned out Wolf didn’t need the Philadelphia vote to win.

    He won the cumulative vote from the state’s other 66 counties by just under 45,000 votes.

    It’s also striking to see how poorly Corbett did in some central counties of the state. He lost Centre County, home to Penn State’s main campus, and Clinton County, immediately to the north.

    It’s likely anger at Corbett over the demise of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno played a major role there, but you can’t discount the education issue either. More than 20,000 education jobs in the state were eliminated after Corbett’s budgets took effect.

    Finally, it’s notable that turnout overall was off across the state. Based on unofficial returns, the statewide vote for governor was about 42 percent, compared with 47 percent four years ago. Philadelphia lagged seven points behind in 2010, and five points this time.

    I’ve prepared a spreadsheet comparing some of the 2014 unofficial returns to the 2010 count. You can look at it here.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.