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Corbett Trails Wolf by Nearly 22 Points

Friday, October 3, 2014

PITTSBURGH – With Election Day closing in, Democratic challenger Tom Wolf has a commanding lead over Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, 50 percent to 29.2 percent, according to the latest poll from the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media. 

 The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted from Sept. 26-29. Approximately one-fifth of voters (20.8 percent) remain undecided. Factoring in those who say they are leaning toward one candidate or another, Wolf leads 56.8 percent to 33.8 percent.

 Wolf is leading in every region of the state except for central Pennsylvania, where he trails by only six points. In an August RMU poll, Wolf held a 31-point advantage; most of Corbett’s gains in recent weeks have come from senior citizens, though Wolf still holds a 13-point lead over the incumbent among older Pennsylvanians.

 “The problem for the Corbett campaign is that voters have made up their minds,” said Philip Harold, professor of political science and associate dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences at RMU.

 One cautious note from the poll: Among those who said they had been polled at least once before, 17.8 percent admitted to having lied to a pollster.

“Assuming that people are not lying on this question, this means there are a large number of people not telling the truth in political polls. The whole mechanism of polling depends on people telling the truth,” said Harold. “Often the type of survey will be responsible for different answers – people will tend to give more socially desirable answers if it is a live phone operator administering the poll.”  

The RMU poll also sought to measure whether and how much the governor’s re-election bid is affected by the state’s investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, an investigation that started when Corbett was attorney general. A majority said it would not impact their vote, but among those who said it would, 26.8 percent said Corbett’s handling of the case would make them less likely to vote for him, while 12.4 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for him.

 Approximately one-third of respondents (37.8 percent) said Corbett should return campaign contributions from members of the board of Sandusky’s Second Mile Foundation. Regarding the other fallout from the Sandusky case, 41.4 percent said Penn State was wrong to fire head football coach Joe Paterno and 38.6 percent said the NCAA should not have sanctioned the university’s football program.

Read the National Poll Report.

Read the  Brushfire Composite. 

ABOUT THE POLL: The Poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media. Polling by the Institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events.

METHODOLOGY: The Poll sampled opinions of 500 Pennsylvania likely voters statewide and was conducted Sept. 26-29, 2014. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 4.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis. 

ABOUT ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Through 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa., works to change its students' lives so that they can go out and change the lives of others for the better. More than 5,400 undergraduate and graduate, nontraditional and online students from 47 states and 39 nations are enrolled at RMU, which sits on 230 scenic acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Emphasizing experiential learning, Robert Morris focuses on professional development, service learning, global awareness, undergraduate research, campus leadership, and cultural experiences, all of which are documented on our innovative Student Engagement Transcript. More than 100 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally, and meet friends. RMU also has 16 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse. Learn more at


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