Is PA a Swing State?

Pennsylvania has voted decidedly Democratic in the last three presidential elections, but neither candidate takes an Obama victory for granted in 2012. Stu Rothenberg asks, is PA really in play?

Rothenberg notes that in 2000, 2004, and 2008, Pennsylvania voted democratically by margins higher than the national average.

[In 2000] then-Vice President Al Gore (D) beat George W. Bush (R) in the popular vote by one-half of 1 percent — Pennsylvania went for the Democrat by more than 4 points. . . . And in 2008, Pennsylvania performed about as it had in the two previous elections. While Barack Obama (D) won nationally by just more than 7 points, he carried the Keystone State by a little more than 10 points.

Now, however, Republicans have gained a stronghold in the state Legislature, the governorship, and the House delegation, and control one Senate seat.

Pennsylvania’s largely older white and white working-class population is also very inviting to Republicans. Minorities make up only one fifth of the state population.

“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won both whites and voters 65 and older in 2008, according to the national exit poll, and the president is likely to be weaker in those two demographic groups again,” wrote Rothenberg, noting that Obama seems to hold even weaker appeal to the white working-class than he did in 2008. He added:

These voters don’t have an automatic cultural connection to Obama (or to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney), and the president’s recent announcement supporting same-sex marriage isn’t likely to be a plus with them. Jobs, of course, remain a big issue with these voters, and whatever hope they had that Obama would turn the economy around has almost certainly evaporated.

Rothenberg allowed that Romney clicks better than Obama with the “upscale suburbs” of Philly.

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota also sees potential for PA to swing, as Tim McNulty of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes:

This week it called Pennsylvania one of the ‘Battleground States of the Century,’ noting that (along with Missouri and Wisconsin) lead the nation in competitive presidential contests, with results decided in the single digits in 16 of 26 cycles since 1908.

At the moment, a survey by Quinnipiac University shows Obama with the upper hand: the incumbent president has 47 percent of the vote and has 8 points over Romney. But the battle for Keystone State is far from decided.

May 16th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Presidential, Top Stories | 12 Comments

12 thoughts on “Is PA a Swing State?”

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  5. Joe says:

    If the GOP can disenfranchise large number of Philadelphia voters as is the plan, PA goes Repub.

  6. Jim says:

    Sorry SWPAnnA. You are wrong. Obama also won Dauphin County, a county that hasn’t gone Dem since 1964, he also won Lackawana (Scranton) and Erie counties by over 60% so it wasn’t just African Americans and students who voted for him.

  7. SWPAnnA says:

    Although O had nearly a 10% win in ’08, he lost most counties except for Cities of Philly and Pgh and State College/Centre. He’ll need a turn out of the same insane numbers he got from students and African Americans, not to mention the pompous academics so cozy in their union jobs that they not only circled the wagons to cover his butt but attacked ANYBODY who questioned how someone so lacking in experience could be so propped up by them…a LOT of PA Democrats will wait to hear what Bill Clinton has to say before checking that box in November,

  8. Brad Kirsch says:

    Every election is a swing election as voters try and figure out what is really going on.
    It is unfortunate that they don’t understand history and gain a perspective on just how we really got to be where we are in our present decline.
    The Republican’s forget the warnings of Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt’s form of Republicanism including Adam Smith’s warning about the need for Capitalism to advance the common interests.

    The Democrats, at times fail to concern themselves with the need to elect a Congress and Senate and not just depend on the President.

    And those that think it is about taxes forget that it must be about what we use those taxes for and how we didn’t tax ourselves to go to war and cut taxes as we were paying down our debt.
    Just electing a President cannot save our nation.

  9. Jim says:

    Obama needs to stop hanging out at George Clooney’s and hanging out on the View. These appearances really hurt him with average voters. They need to run ads showing all of Romney’s flip flops.

  10. At least the “tax to death” spending by Rendell is over. He now has indentured servants in PA for the next 20 years with Dem spending.

  11. David Diano says:

    “Now, however, Republicans have gained a stronghold in the state Legislature, the governorship, and the House delegation, and control one Senate seat.”

    …. and shown what a really crappy job Republicans do when they are in charge.

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