As our friends at the Post-Gazette have already noted, yesterday a Quinnipiac poll came out with some bad news for Dan Onorato's gubernatorial ambitions:
[Republican] Attorney General [Tom] Corbett is the one candidate for Governor relatively well-known to Pennsylvanians. A total of 43 percent of voters -- including 60 percent of Republicans -- view him favorably. Only 7 percent overall ... view him unfavorably.
By contrast, Onorato has an 11 percent unfavorability rating, and hardly anyone else even knows who he is. Nearly half of all Democrats are undecided: Onorato "leads" among this group, garnering 14 percent of voters in a hypothetical primary match-up -- slightly better than Montgomery County's Joe Hoeffel (a contender for Senate in 2004) posting 12 percent and auditor general Jack Wagner's 11 percent. But that's all within the poll's margin of error. And in any case, Corbett would beat any of these guys by 20 percent.
(Interestingly, three of the four front-runners here -- Corbett, Onorato, and Wagner -- all have roots in Pittsburgh.)
Obviously, Corbett's got a lot in his favor. For one thing, it's an old saw that in Pennsylvania, the parties trade the governor's mansion every eight years ... meaning that this would be the Republicans' "turn." Unlike a lot of political saws, this one is actually true -- the pattern has held for more than a half-century.
Plus, Corbett enjoys the popularity that comes from being an attorney general: He gets headlines for going after pedophiles, state legislators, and other disreputable types. Corbett's been accused of turning his "Bonusgate" investigation into a partisan witchhunt, a charge which might tarnish his public image as a moderate reformer. But I think that when legislators complain about a partisan investigation, most voters hear that as a partisan complaint.
Anway, the Democrats' biggest problem is that they have to lug around the corpse of Ed Rendell -- who is massively unpopular anywhere outside of Philadelphia -- throughout the election season.