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Forecast: Wolf looks good, U.S. Senate poised for change

Published by Mike Pound on .

Obama Governor Pennsylvania Wolf erAssociated Press photo

Before we get to Tuesday's main event – and even before we get to today's preliminary activities, which include Pittsburgh appearances by both Battling Toms – let's take one last look at some polling numbers and the last-minute projections by Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog.

Two polls updated their numbers at the end of last week – and those figures look much like they have for the last several weeks. Democratic nominee Tom Wolf holds leads in both, although one set of numbers – those from Magellan Strategies – shows a much tighter race.

Muhlenberg College/Morning Call: Mr. Wolf holds a 51-39 point lead over Gov. Tom Corbett here, although this manages to be a poll that neither candidate would be happy about. Even with the lead, Mr. Wolf's unfavorable rating had climbed from 25 percent in September to 36 percent in this poll. And for Mr. Corbett? His ratings actually improved, but c'mon – that double-digit deficit looks rough just days before the election.

Magellan Strategies: The margin here is different – Mr. Wolf has a less-comfortable lead of 49.6-43.3 – but just under half of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of our sitting governor.

FiveThirtyEight: And that leads us to this: Mr. Silver says there's just a 1 percent chance that Mr. Corbett will retain his seat on Tuesday. Mr. Wolf enjoys an 11.6-point advantage in Mr. Silver's list, which puts him – and Pennsylvania overall – in some interesting company. In gubernatorial races where Democrats are favored to win, only New York, California, Hawaii and Vermont – all solidly blue states – have bigger advantages in Mr. Silver's forecast. But now is not the time to start your celebrations, Dems – as of this morning, Mr. Silver also says there is a 72.3 percent chance that Republicans will win the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

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The final arguments

Published by James O'Toole on .

In last-minute pursuit of every last vote, Gov. Tom Corbett and his challenger, Tom Wolf will headline dueling rallies  in the Pittsburgh region today, just hours before the polls open on Tuesday..

On the heels of an appearance with President Barack Obama Sunday night in Philadelphia, Mr. Wolf, the Democratic nominee, will appear at 4 p.m. this afternoon at the USW headquarters on the Boulevard of the Allies.

Capping a series of events across the state, Mr. Corbett, the GOP incumbent, will head to an evening rally at the Embassy Suites Hotel, on Cherrington Parkway in Coraopolis.  He'll be accompanied by a who's who of state and local GOP leaders, including Sen. Pat Toomey, state Sens. Kim Ward and Randy Vulakovich, and state Rep.Mike Turzai, the House majority leader.

 

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Peduto gets a birthday gift from AARP

Published by Mike Pound on .

AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh presents Mayor Bill Peduto with an oversized AARP card. Photo by Martha Rial.AARP Pennsylvania State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh presents Mayor Bill Peduto with an oversized AARP card. Photo by Martha Rial.

By Robert Zullo
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto got a birthday present today from the AARP: his official membership card.

Mr. Peduto, a former city councilman elected mayor last year, turns 50 today.

"We know William Peduto will continue to set a great example to all by showing that age sets no boundaries on what you can achieve in life," said Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania's state director. "We're very proud to call him a member of the AARP family."

Mr. Peduto, who plays in the city's 40-plus Iron Lung Ice Hockey League, said he was "proud to be among the growing number of 50-plus Pittsburghers enjoying the quality of life, livability and healthy lifestyles afforded to those of all ages in our city."

Mr. Peduto joins 37 million members of the AARP, a nonprofit organization for people 50 and older that also provides an vast assortment of discounts and benefits, from cheaper auto insurance to 20 percent off Cirque du Soleil.

Robert Zullo: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo.

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Republican poll, same results

Published by Mike Pound on .

Gov. Tom Corbett campaigns in Erie. (Associated Press photo)Gov. Tom Corbett campaigns in Erie. (Associated Press photo)

There is more bad news for Camp Corbett, and this time it's coming from a Republican polling firm.

Harper Polling took its first look at the race between The Battling Toms since early September, and it found that the race hasn't changed all that much. Fifty percent of its respondents, all likely voters, said they would back Tom Wolf, Mr. Corbett's Democratic challenger, while 40 percent would back the Republican incumbent. That 10-point spread is just a 1-point improvement over the September Harper poll.

Conventional wisdom says Mr. Corbett's recent, incremental improvement in the polls is attributed to Republicans finally lining up behind the governor – see the Franklin and Marshall poll we discussed yesterday – but Harper saw something different. Support for Mr. Wolf among Democrats dwindled a bit – dropping from 82 percent in September to 77 percent in this poll – while support for Mr. Corbett among Republicans has held steady at 70 percent.

If the Republicans are already lined up behind Mr. Corbett, what's making the difference here? The GOP's ad campaigns? Mr. Wolf's own reticence to discuss details of his plans for tax reform? Does it matter? Mr. Corbett's numbers improved, sure, but by just a single point in about seven weeks. Here's a better question: can that 10-point spread translate to a win for Mr. Corbett in less than a week?

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Margin still wide for Corbett campaign

Published by Mike Pound on .

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If Tom Corbett has any ideas for a last-minute push in the race for his job, now is definitely the time to try.

A new poll from Franklin and Marshall College shows the Republican governor is still down by double digits to Democratic challenger Tom Wolf – and time to make up ground is quickly running out.

F&M found Mr. Wolf with a 13-point lead, 53-40, among likely voters; it also found that nearly two-thirds of registered voters believe the state is "off on the wrong track" and that just one third think Mr. Corbett deserves to be re-elected.

It's true that the margin between the two candidates is shrinking, something that F&M attributes an increasing level of support from Mr. Corbett's own party (48 percent of Republicans said they'd vote for Mr. Corbett in August, 62 percent in September and 66 percent this month). But the poll also said the following numbers have remained fairly consistent through the entire year: 36 percent say Mr. Corbett cares about ordinary people, 41 percent say he can be trusted to make the right decisions and 52 percent believe he is too conservative.

That's a pretty steep hill for Mr. Corbett to climb. And he doesn't have much time to get to the summit.

Sorry, not sorry. How to say you're sorry: "I'm sorry."

How to say you're sorry in a legally appropriate fashion when you actually believe that you haven't really done anything wrong: Complain about how hard this has been and then say you're sorry about the actions of your staff.

It's one thing for former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin to say she's going to accept the penalties imposed on her after her corruption conviction, which she suddenly did on Tuesday. But it's another to issue a court-mandated apology like this one:

"In reflection, I wish I had been more diligent in my supervision of my staff and that I had given them more careful instructions with respect to the prohibition on political activity."

We're sorry, but that's the sorriest apology we've ever read.

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