Gov. Corbett Tweets About Liquor A Lot — But Can It Save His Career?

Gov. Corbett on liquor sales: "We shouldn't do it halfway."

As Governor Tom Corbett’s approval ratings continue circling the drain, and Democrats circle their wagons around his job, there seems to be only one issue that anyone believes can save the dude’s 2014 chances: Liquor privatization.

It’s his most popular issue with a majority of the state. Polls have consistently shown a large majority of Pennsylvanians want the government out of the state liquor business, which it has controlled since Prohibition ended. The most recent poll on the matter, conducted for the anti-union Commonwealth Foundation, found about 60 percent of Pennsylvanians support getting out of the business—and those numbers have been pretty steady for the last few years.

And the governor, with recent polls showing he’d lose his re-election if it were held today, has taken to Twitter to make his point. An analysis (see: count) shows the governor has tweeted or retweeted about liquor—often using the hashtags #consumerchoice and #paliquor—74 times throughout April. (And there’s still tomorrow.)

Earlier today, the governor wrote: Share this image if you support getting PA out of the liquor business! #consumerchoice

A couple hours before that, when it was: Let your senator know you want PA out of the liquor business! #consumerchoice …

Saturday: Let your voice be heard! Tell your senator know you support #consumerchoice! …

Thursday: Let your voice be heard! Tell your senator know you support #consumerchoice! …

You get the idea.

According to, Governor Corbett joined Twitter on March 8, 2011—784 days ago. And he’s tweeted a total of 3,122 times in those two-plus years, an average of about 120 times per month. Which means more than half the governor’s average tweets per month are now about liquor.

So we’re going to assume that the governor thinks this idea is a winner. And why shouldn’t he? The National Journal wrote in March that booze in Pennsylvania “could save a political career” (Corbett’s).

At the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference earlier this month, the governor spent a portion of his speech talking up liquor privatization.

“In Pennsylvania, our hands are tied,” Corbett noted. “Whether it’s a party or an event or just a dinner with your family and friends, neighbors: If you want to have beer, wine, liquor, you’ve got to make three separate stops.” He then told the audience that Pennsylvania’s system should be more like that of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is where he was visiting on a trade mission to bring 74 jobs to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

“Selling liquor,” he continued, “is not a core function of government.”

The plan Corbett laid out in his budget earlier this year would send one-time cash made from selling the state liquor stores to the state’s education system. He estimated it’d total $1 billion. The House passed a privatization bill earlier this month and the Senate is set to take it up before the final budget is voted upon.

But a Quinnipiac poll released today shows only 38 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of the job the governor is doing as the executive of the state government, with 47 percent disapproving. If the election were held today, Corbett would lose to every potential candidate, with the worst defeats being against either former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak or U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling institute called the poll a “triple dose of bad news” for the governor. “Three Democratic challengers would beat him handily if the election for governor were held today,” he said, of Sestak, Schwartz and State Treasurer Rob McCord.

There’s no evidence to say this is the winning issue the governor needs, but, well, stranger things have happened.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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