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Poll finds plurality of Pa. voters think Attorney General Kane should resign

| Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, 1:24 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen Kane's popularity among voters is waning as she continues to fight criminal charges, a poll shows.

The poll by Robert Morris University in Moon, released Tuesday, shows the number of people who believe Kane should step down has increased 10 percentage points to 43.6 percent since May. It's the first time a clear plurality of those polled said Kane should quit.

The survey of 523 residents, from Oct. 10-15, found 15 percent believe Kane should remain in office, and 41 percent weren't sure. The poll's error margin is 4.5 percentage points. The 15 percent “represents her core support,” said Phil Harold, a political science professor at Robert Morris.

“The real movement is people becoming aware of the issues,” Harold said. In May, almost 50 percent of those surveyed said they didn't know enough to form an opinion. That number now is 41 percent, Harold said.

The first Democrat and woman to be elected attorney general, Kane took office in January 2013. Fifteen months later, she encountered public criticism for her decision to kill an undercover corruption sting that ensnared a half-dozen Philadelphia politicians.

She has pushed back by making public select emails found in the office computer system that show prosecutors, judges, police and others shared pornography and racially insensitive emails. Several people, including a Supreme Court justice, resigned because of the emails.

Montgomery County's district attorney has charged Kane with 12 criminal counts stemming from a leak of grand jury material to a Philadelphia newspaper. Prosecutors allege she did so to embarrass a former state prosecutor with whom she feuded publicly. The charges include two felony counts of perjury.

Kane, 49, of Scranton repeatedly has denied the charges.

“Given the continued negative headlines, it is not surprising Attorney General Kane's approval rating has gone down,” said her spokesman Chuck Ardo. “She doesn't respond to polls. She continues to maintain her innocence and expects to remain in office to serve out her term.”

Her term runs through January 2017.

Kane lost the right to practice law last week when the state Supreme Court's indefinite suspension of her license took effect. The chief counsel for the lawyer disciplinary board recommended the suspension, saying Kane faces a conflict as a criminal defendant who would charge others with crimes.

The state Senate is conducting an inquiry into whether Kane can do her job effectively without a law license and, potentially, whether to remove her from office. A vote to remove her would require a two-thirds super majority.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has urged Kane to resign.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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