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FiveThirtyEight: PA is Electoral College “Tipping Point”

FiveThirtyEight 1992-2012Pennsylvania is set to be the tipping point for the 2016 presidential election.

That’s the conclusion of FiveThirtyEight’s Dave Wasserman. Wasserman, who also writes for the Cook Political Report, believes that Pennsylvania is a state that GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump could peel away from the Democrats.

“In 2016, Pennsylvania could be the keystone of the Electoral College and the ultimate arbiter of whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” he writes.

While PA has gone blue in six straight elections, going back to 1992, Wasserman shows that it is trending Republican.

A major part of his piece is the growing east/west divide that has emerged in the commonwealth, a subject that I’ve written about at length.

FiveThirtyEight Acela-Appalachia Chart

Wasserman sees Trump doing much better in Pennsylvania than newly blue states like Virginia and Colorado (which was the tipping point in 2008 and 2012). This is due to PA’s own unique economic circumstances, demographics and voting laws.

“Don’t get me wrong: Florida and Ohio are still likely to be crucial in any scenario in which Trump wins a majority of Electoral College votes,” Wasserman concludes. “But if Clinton wants to keep him out of the White House, she may need to build a Pennsylvania firewall. Perhaps that’s a good reason Democrats are holding their convention in Philadelphia in 10 weeks.”

13 Responses

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  3. Pundits have had this presidential election cycle wrong from the beginning. You all keep analyzing this from the liberal v conservative or R v D perspective because you cannot think outside of the box. This election is PO v SQ. PISSED OFF V STATUS QUO. when you het outside the little boxes you’ve built around yourselves and actually start listening to people you will discover there are a lot more pissed off voters than you ever knew. Start looking at your little electoral maps that way boys and girls.

  4. Tim, you’re a moron. Instead of just spouting off, how about we place a wager on it; Republicans win the PA Presidential vote and I’ll never post on this website again, Dems win and you shut up for all time instead?

    (Mike is likewise delusional to thing the Dems have a shot at states like MS or SC, but at least he isn’t crowing like his candidate already won)

  5. Too bad Trump will win Pennsylvania. Auntie Goofamus of the Ozarks is reviled throughout the state as a liar and a phoney-ram-a politician who panders to anyone who would possibly vote for her.
    The moniker “Crooked” Hillary is more than apt. We know this babes game now! Trump is no longer a longshot candidate, he is now the odds on favorite and Clinton will go down in flames in November. Don’t think so? Well get ready to watch the trouncing libs! Then retreat to your safe spaces and call your psychiatrists and have them prescribe you something stronger! Trump 2016! It’s a new era in American Democracy!

  6. Except for Senator Toomey, every statewide office in Pennsylvania is held by a Democrat. The Democrats have won every statewide election since 2010 with the exception of a state Superior election (Victor Stabile) in 2012 where the candidate had bipartisan support.

    Since 2012, Democrats have won every statewide election and have taken control of Montgomery County decisively winning all row offices and all judicial races with exception of former DA Risa Ferman who had high, positive name recognition and bipartisan support.

    Rob Gleason’s Cambria county went Democraticin 2015.

    The thinking is that Donald Trump will appeal not only to conservative Republicans but to conservative Democratic “clingers” and also appeal to a 20% of black vote who like his style.

  7. I think it’s critical to say something. The ‘Tipping Point’ state is basically the state at which a candidate crosses 270 electoral votes, not the closest state. So for example, in 2012 Barack Obama won with 332 electoral votes, and the closest state was Florida, which went for the President by .88%.

    However, the ‘Tipping Point’ state was Colorado, which the President won by 5.37%. Florida, Ohio, and Virginia were closer, but if Romney had won all three of those states Obama would have still be reelected.

    That’s the ‘Tipping Point.’ Once the President won Colorado the election ‘tipped’ to him because he won the rest of the states he needed by larger margins.

  8. The map is misleading for a number of reasons. Utah, Arizona, Mass, Arkansas and Tennessee became “redder” since 1992 because Arkansas and Tennessee were the homestates of Clinton and Gore in 1992, and Mass and Arizona were the homestates of the Republican candidate (with Utah being an adoptive homestate of Romney due to his religious affiliation).

    I agree that Trump will do well in parts of Pennsylvania. But he will get slaughtered in the Philadelphia suburbs. And, there is a substantial chance that Hillary can win MS, SC, and GA, along with FL, NC, and VA. A combination of a moderate Democratic candidate with strength in the African-American community, African-Americans coming out in droves to oppose a racist combined with religious conservatives refusing to vote for Trump will result in a perfect storm to break the solid South for the Republicans.

  9. Having now read the Wasserman article, I see the error does not belong to him, but rather to Nick Field’s understanding of Wasserman’s article. Wasserman says that, ordering all the states by most likely to vote D to most likely to vote R, PA is the state right in the middle, and each party needs to collect the electoral votes of PA and all of the states that are more friendly to their party to win 270 electoral votes, the magic number needed to win. Field’s is wrong to say “Wasserman shows that [PA] is trending Republican,” growing more Democratic between 1992 and 2012 (from D+9 in 92 to D+12 in 2012*). A correct interpretation of Wasserman’s article would be “Wasserman shows that [PA] is trending Democratic slower than other former tipping point states like Viriginia and Colorado.”

    (*I misread the chart in the article above in my 1st comment, apologies, but for this post I used the correct state percentage margin from and and this correction did not change the outcome or direction of trend)

  10. “While PA has gone blue in six straight elections, going back to 1992, Wasserman shows that it is trending Republican,” is followed by a chart showing PA increasing it’s Democrat vote every presidential election since 1992. You have to really torture the numbers and to contradict that basic fact and believe PA is going to shift from D to R by more than 18 points over last time.

  11. Agree with DD completely with this one exception: “people who wouldn’t vote for Obama because he is black” will most likely be Trump supporters. Trump pretty much has the market cornered on the racist vote.

  12. They say this every presidential cycle to generate headlines and controversy. It’s the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.

    PA just won statewide supreme court, so there is definitely Dem strength.

    The Dems are more united than the GOP (despite some rabble rousing from Bernie die-hards). The people who wouldn’t vote for Obama because he was black, don’t have that impediment this election.

    The frigging DNC convention is in PA.

    PA is BLUE.

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