PPP: Pgh most popular to voters

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Sid wins Stanley Cup

Pittsburgh is the most favored city to Pennsylvania voters -- according to the latest rollout from Public Policy Polling -- and hilariously Harrisburg is the only major city statewide to be disliked by people who live there. Democrats, Republicans and especially independents (65-15% approval) like Pittsburgh.

From PPP:

While Scranton is a popular city statewide, it is not voters' favorite. That would be Pittsburgh, which has a 57-17 favorability margin. Of eight cities we asked about, the only one of which voters have a net negative opinion is by far its most populous, Philadelphia. Only 37% see it favorably and 42% unfavorably. Between the western and eastern bookends are Bethlehem (42-10), Erie (41-11), Scranton, Allentown (34-22), Reading (31-26), and Harrisburg (38-34).

Philly is seen very well by the people in the area codes surrounding it, but worse in areas further west. Pitt is seen well by every area of the state, particularly the western parts nearest it. Harrisburg is the only city disliked by its own area code and liked by others.

Philly has by far the biggest difference along racial lines of any of the cities. White voters fall similarly to the overall numbers (34-43), but African Americans really like Philly (61-29).

Partially because of this racial gap, Philadelphia is also the most polarizing along partisan lines. Democrats like it, but not as much as Republicans dislike it, and not as much as Democrats like Pittsburgh. Democrats fall at 47-30 on Philly, while Republicans fall at 26-55 and independents at 38-40. For Pitt, voters of all stripes like it: Democrats (64-13), Republicans (48-26), and independents most of all (65-6). Probably because it is the capital, voters are also a little split on Harrisburg politically. Democrats (41-32) and independents (36-29) aren't that thrilled about it, but Republicans slightly dislike it (35-37).


Corbett to nominate top aide as Allegheny Co. judge

Published by Karen Langley on .

Gov. Tom Corbett has announced he will nominate chief of staff Bill Ward to a vacancy on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

The governor's general counsel, Stephen Aichele, will take over as chief of staff on Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this morning that Ward would leave his job amid worries by top state Republicans that the governor has an image problem.

Ward, 60, is from Mt. Lebanon, and he said in a press release that the move would reunite him with his family.

“My current role in government has been both professionally challenging and personally rewarding,” Ward said. “A position serving on the bench in Allegheny County will allow me to be reunited with my family in Pittsburgh while continuing to serve the commonwealth.”

Ward is a former federal and state prosecutor. He served as the top deputy to Corbett in the attorney general's office in the 1990s.

He will serve as a special adviser to Corbett until his confirmation by the Senate.


Critics: Corbett cuts pathway to the Big House

Published by Emily Dobler on .


Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner, with about 20 poster-bearing supporters from various local organizations in tow, squared off with state government to keep the county's services untouched at a press conference this morning.

The goal, as stated in a letter Wagner sent to Gov. Tom Corbett, is to fully or at least partially restore cuts included in his proposed 2012-13 budget. The outrage is mainly directed at Corbett's proposed 20 percent cut in human services, which she claims will have dire effects on residents' livelihood.

Wagner pointed out the "irony" of Corbett's cuts because he used to be a county resident. "He's pouring salt on the wounds of his own county's residents ... He should take care of his own first," she said.

Supporters at the conference included members from KidsVoice, an organization which helps abused and neglected children; SEIU Local 668, a social services union; and Kane Hospital, a senior care and rehabilitation facility.

Scott Hollander, executive director of KidsVoice, is afraid of the cuts' impact on children. The cuts, he said, will affect the entirety of their lives; from when they're abused as children and can't get the help they need to when they're adults and can't cope with the emotional and physical consequences, potentially ending up in jail or worse.

According to Hollander, without funding to increase staff for KidsVoice and other organizations like it, this could be the future for many neglected children because of Corbett's cuts.

Wagner shared such concern. "[Corbett] said what we're going to do is block grant mental illness, substance abuse, programs for the homeless," she said. "Those are three of the areas that I think studies show, when you take away services, those are the people who end up in our jails."

Supporters noted that even if the budget is approved as is, they will not stop protesting and will try to stretch what they have or find other resources to maintain services. In December, Allegheny County approved a 1-mill tax increase to ensure funding for human services programs.

Photo: Steve Mellon/PG. Keshauna Madden, 2, of McKees Rocks takes part on the KidsVoice "Kites for Kids" parade at Station Square in 2007.


Ras: Obama, Casey with 6-7 pt leads

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Rasmussen Reports is the latest pollster to show Barack Obama with a lead over Mitt Romney in Pa, this time of 7 points. From the pollster:

President Obama now holds a six-point lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, a state considered essential to his reelection bid.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Keystone State shows the president with 47% support, while the putative Republican presidential nominee picks up 41% of the vote. Seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The conservative-leaning pollster has a much different take on the Bob Casey/Tom Smith Senate race that what we've seen before, saying in that contest the incumbent Democrat is only up 7 points (at 48-41%), whereas the last PPP poll had Casey comfortably up 16 points.

The telephone polls of 500 likely voters were done Monday and has a 4.5% margin of error.

UPDATE: The Smith campaign is loving the Senate results. From the campaign:

"This most recent public poll clearly demonstrates a tightening race with growing momentum for Tom Smith," said Smith Campaign Manager Jim Conroy. "It's evident that voters are responding to Tom's message of job creation and fiscal restraint, while turning away from Senator Casey's record as a rubber stamp for the Obama Administration's massive spending and debt."

"While Senator Casey is well known by the electorate and failing to break 50%, nearly a third of the electorate has yet to formulate an opinion on Tom Smith," added Smith pollster John McLaughlin. "As Smith continues to increase his name identification the race will continue to tighten - this race is clearly winnable and will be close."

UPDATE 2: PoliticsPa has some interesting breakdowns from the Ras study (Smith leads with older and white voters) and more bad news for the Corbett admin -- the governor's approval rating is underwater, just as it was in the PPP poll (at 37/50%). From Keegan Gibson:

Rasmussen’s crosstabs, obtained by PoliticsPA, shows a few interesting trends. Casey leads decisively among voters under 40 (56 to 26 percent), African Americans (82 to 18 percent), self-described moderates (57 to 29 percent) and those with a household income over $100,000 (58 to 36 percent).

Smith leads among men (51 to 42 percent), voters ages 40-64 (48 to 44 percent), voters ages 65 and up (56 to 39 percent) and white voters (45 to 43 percent).

The two men are within the margin of error with voters whose an annual household income between $20,000 and $75,000.

Finally, Governor Corbett’s job approval is negative, 51 to 45 percent (12 percent strongly approve, 33 percent somewhat approve, 22 percent somewhat disapprove, and 29 percent strongly disapprove).


Obama camp runs new Pa ad

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Well, that didn't take long.

A day after our parochial worries about the lack of new Obama ads in Pa, the president's reelection campaign announced today it is running a new ad in the state. Called "Reverse," the graphic-driven ad goes over the rough state of the economy when Obama entered office (just as his first spot of the season did) and charts his administration's payroll tax cut and incremental job creation efforts since then. It ends with a black screen and the words "Do we really want to reverse course now?"

The spot has already run in other states. The Obama camp did not say how large the ad buy was or in which Pa markets it was placed. IThe campaign's backup info is here.