Pa Governor’s race now “leaning Democratic,” analyst says

 Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett (AP Photo, file)

Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett (AP Photo, file)

One of the nation’s leading political analysts has changed his rating of next year’s Pennsylvania governor’s race  – from a “toss up” to “leaning Democratic.”

Plenty of polls give Republican Governor Tom Corbett weak numbers, among them a recent Quinnipiac survey showing him with a 35 percent approval rating.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia now regards the Pennvlvania race as “leaning Democratic” in his widely-watched Crystal Ball ratings. He says there’s time for Corbett to rebound.

“But I think it’s a warning to governor Corbett that he is in very serious difficulty, there’s no question about it,” Sabato said in a phone interview.

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Sabato says there are a number of reasons for Corbett’s sticky situation, including some well-publicized gaffes.

The lynch-pin of Corbett’s difficulties, Sabato said, is the Penn State child abuse scandal, which brought down beloved head coach Joe Paterno and put the team on a four-year post-season ban.

Corbett was state attorney general when the investigation was launched. Some have criticized him for taking too long with the probe. Others blame him for the damage to Paterno and Pennn State.

“Corbett seems to be held account for the disaster at Penn State by many voters,” Sabato said. “There’s tremendous anger about the penalties that have been inflicted on Penn State and the football team there.”

Sabato also says that because Pennsylvania tends to lean Democrat, Corbett may be perceived as too conservative. While several prominent Democrats plan to run against Corbett, the governor is raising money and plans a vigorous campaign.                                     

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