Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New poll: DeWeese must go; special session on reform needed

How timely. A day after a leading House Democrat called for the resignation of House Democratic Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, a new Quinnipiac University poll released today finds that a majority of Pennsylvania residents also want DeWeese to hit the road.

The poll says 53 percent of Pennsylvania residents want DeWeese to step down from his leadership post. (DeWeese is not facing criminal charges in the Bonusgate scandal, but his former chief of staff, Michael Manzo, and his former No. 2 man, Mike Veon, were among 12 Democrats indicted.)

Some other findings from the poll: Only 24 percent of voters have confidence that the Legislature can deal with corruption on its own. A whopping 76 percent of those polled want Gov. Ed Rendell to call a special session of the Legislature to deal with reform.

More than half of those polled (51 percent) disapprove of the Legislature's job performance.

"Pennsylvania voters are clearly fed up with the Legislature; say both parties are responsible for corruption, even though only Democrats were indicted in Bonusgate, and want House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese to step down for his role in the scandal," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "They are looking to Gov. Ed Rendell to convene a special session to handle corruption, but have no faith that lawmakers can clean their own house."

I wonder if Josh Shapiro saw the poll numbers early when he called a Monday press conference to demand DeWeese resign from his leadership post.

Shapiro gave five reasons why he wants DeWeese to go, but the key reason is that Democrats are worried that DeWeese has become the symbol of state corruption. The longer he remains in power, the more likely Democrats will lose their thin majority in the House.

Read the full Quinnipiac University poll at the school's Web site.

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