Democrat Tom Wolf has opened a 25-point lead over incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett in the race for governor of Pennsylvania, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.
Wolf, a York businessman, will face Corbett in the general election on Nov. 4. Among likely voters, Wolf leads 49 percent to 24 percent, with 25 percent as yet undecided. In June, the challenger led 47 percent to 25 percent, a lead of 22 percentage points, with 27 percent of voters undecided.
In other poll results, 61 percent of respondents said they believe the state is "off on the wrong track," compared to 59 percent in the June poll.
The poll reflects interviews with 520 registered voters conducted Aug. 18-25. The sample error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
About one in four voters, 24 percent, believe Corbett is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, in line with the results of the June poll. Fewer than 40 percent of his fellow Republicans, however, rate his performance as "excellent" or "good," down from 49 percent in June. About one in four voters, 26 percent, believe Corbett has performed well enough to deserve re-election.
The governor is running out of time to change public sentiment about his leadership, said G. Terry Madonna, the poll's director.
"Tom Corbett has not given voters a reason why they should view his governorship differently," he said. "Tom Wolf only has to be, to any incumbent in trouble, an acceptable alternative."
Among Corbett's chief challenges, Madonna said, are overcoming criticism he has received for cutting education spending and his inability to get the Republican-controlled General Assembly to pass pension reform measures -- a Corbett priority.
"Gov. Corbett needs to change the narrative about his leadership's effectiveness, and he hasn't done it," Madonna said.
The poll continues to show that education, at 22 percent, is the issue that voters care most about when considering who to support for governor.
On the national front, the number of registered Pennsylvania voters who believe President Barack Obama is doing an "excellent" or "good" job as president is 34 percent, unchanged from June.
The 23-year-old Franklin & Marshall College Poll is conducted under the direction of Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost, director of the Floyd Institute's Center for Opinion Research, and Project Manager Jacqueline Redman. It is produced in conjunction with the Philadelphia Daily News, WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, WPVI-TV6/ABC Philadelphia, Times-Shamrock Newspapers, Harrisburg PennLive/The Patriot News, Lancaster Newspapers/Lancaster Online, and the Reading Eagle.