Maps: How Obama Stacked Up in Pa. Vs. 2008 and 2004

Barack Obama scored a solid win in Pennsylvania on Tuesday despite losing ground in nearly every county in the state. Take a look at where the President took the biggest hit, as well as the three places where Republican Mitt Romney underperformed John McCain.

PoliticsPA compared the margin of Obama’s win in 2012 to his margin in 2008 on a county-by-county basis. For example in Philadelphia, Obama defeated Romney by more than 71 percent on Tuesday. He bested John McCain by 67 percent in 2008, a new improvement of more than 4 points.

Obama won Elk County by 4.4 percent in 2008 and Cambria by 0.7 percent. He lost Elk by 16 points this year, and Cambria by 18.

So, now that Obama’s numbers have come down to earth from their nadir in 2008, will Pa. return to the battleground conversation in 2016, or are we consigned to second-class blue state status?

“There isn’t any doubt that the Obama coalition this year was the same coalition that elected him in ‘08,” said Franklin and Marshall pollster Terry Madonna. “How did we get from 10 points to 5? The answer is simple: Obama didn’t do as well in the Philly suburbs as he did four years ago.”

However, Madonna said, the GOP didn’t do as well as it did 8 years ago.

“The Republicans in their base, in places like Lancaster and Lebanon and York, in south central Pa. where you have the largest number of their voters, went somewhere between where they were in 2004 and 2008. They didn’t have the same strong vote for Romney as the did for Bush in ‘04,” he noted.

PoliticsPA also looked at Obama’s advantage in 2012 versus Democrat John Kerry’s when he beat President George W. Bush in Pa. in 2004 (map below).

Even a diminished result for Obama shows clear improvement for Democrats in eastern Pa. – particularly south central Pa.

By the same token, he did far worse than Kerry in western Pa.

Will that dynamic – surging Dems in the east versus a stronger GOP in the west – hold true for 2016? Maybe, to some degree. His background and strong support among minorities made Obama uniquely formidable in eastern Pa., just as they – and his reputation for antipathy toward the coal industry – made him uniquely weak in western Pa.

In any case, when Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley or whoever begins opening up campaign offices in Pa. in 2016, don’t be surprised to see them in Lancaster, York or Carlisle.

Likewise, when Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan or Mitch Daniels sets up shop, don’t be shocked by a major push in Johnstown or Uniontown.

14 Responses

  1. To the commenter who thinks Corbett is doing such a great job in reducing “welfare” to the many in PA who need it, perhaps more money spent on education and other programs that would enable people to get off welfare would be more in order. Instead Corbett cuts education funding while not bringing in the revenue we need from businesses like the gas industry…and that’s just for starters in the bias in the Corbett administration. Let’s work together so ALL Pennsylvanians succeed, and not against our most vulnerable citizens.

  2. Emergency rooms across the Country in those blue states are full of people who have NEVER had a family physician, do NOT practice healthy habits (which of course Obama blamed on Bush, and the often repeated line – for 4 years – “we didn’t know how bad the economy was”) because they live in an area that ONLY has access to fast food, so they couldn’t possibly imagine what it would be like to go to a grocery store and buy vegetables, or 5 lbs of rice, frozen or fresh fish, etc. So the ONLY alternative is to walk 2 blocks and buy McNuggets and Triple cheeseburgers and 16 oz sodas. The emergency rooms in Chicago are also full of gunshot victims who have $8,000 in their pockets when they go to have a bullet removed, but no health insurance. After they are patched up and have told the police the requisite “I don’t know who shot me”, the hospital gives them back their money, and the next thing you a retaliatory gunshot victim appears in the emergency room with a pocket full of cash but no insurance.
    Some families have only known welfare their entire lives, and that’s what the Democrats promise them in return for their vote. in order to supplement their check they occassionally do an odd job but in LA alone their are 13,000 gangs, and if you don’t think they make their living selling drugs, Obama will tell you that they have to do because “we didn’t know how bad the economy was”, as if this is justification. Obama let 30,000 cocaine felons out of Federal prisons in California, and because New York alone terminates half of ALL pregnancies, the borders have to be left open to replace those 51 million murdered children since McCorvey vs Wade. Liberals of course use abortion as birth control, and that’s because Liberal women will do anything for drugs, and who has time to go to a drug store.

  3. Delco, I applaud you for leaving out the word “racist” in your post. That took a lot of self-control. I think Jim should know that more than twice as many of his tax dollars fund corporate welfare than needy citizens who are probably working for those companies.

  4. Jim…as someone who lives in SEPA and was born and raised in Philadelphia and is a maker and not a taker, I would gladly approve of divorcing the rest of PA and keeping all of the tax money we send to Harrisburg right here in SEPA. If you were somewhat self-aware you would know that the tax money SEPA gets back from Harrisburg does not equal or exceed the tax money SEPA sends to Harrisburg to support the Appalachian, SWPA and NEPA AND CENTRAL PA WELFARE STATES. GET A GRIP AND STOP THE HATE. BE HAPPY I AM NOT TIRED OF SUPPORTING THE REST OF YOU…DOPE.

  5. The election has proven one thing…there’s a heck of a lot of Shaniqua’s, Denote’s, and LaFonda’s out there in Philadelphia. And, they’re having tons and tons of kids, so the future isn’t much better. I say that we isolate Philadelphia along with the surrounding counties that love to support that city so much. Put them in a special economic zone, with more liberal tax rates, more liberal economic policies, more liberal income for their unions and such. Hopefully they will enjoy it and they will not burden the rest of the state financially. If Philadelphia needs something, then some liberal from MontCo or DelCo can pay for it. That’s what they want, so let them live that life. As for Scranton and the Lehigh Valley, not much can be done there. Scranton is a craphole, always has been. Allentown is basically little Juarez and has zero future. Adios, Allentown/Easton/Bethlehem!

  6. Dave D. said it for me. The Republican platform was heard—and rejected.

    The only other comment I have is that “nadir” means the bottom, not the top. The author should have said “zenith.”

  7. Delco is a hair away from being even Dem-Rep, with about 10% independent. But, when you look at the age breakdown, below 40 years old it’s strongly Dem. The Rep strength is all concentrated in the oldest population, which is dying off like the dinosaurs. A candidate like Obama brings out the youth vote, and much of the Delco GOP is moderate on social issues, which bodes well for future Dem candidates.

  8. The turn-around in Dauphin County to a Democratic county is impressive. Also of note, Erie County is the only county that turnd more Democrat in western PA. That is because it is more like Ohio than Western PA.

  9. @ron yocum,

    Let me use a brief math lesson, rather than a partisan ideological rant, to explain why comparing the Obama 2012 map with the Kerry 2004 map demonstrates why Pennsylvania becomes less of a “swing state” with each presidential election.

    Obama 2012 outperformed Kerry 2004 in the vast majority of eastern and south central Pennsylvania counties. Those counties have seen significant population increases since 1990. On the other hand, Obama 2012 lost support in in the vast majority of western Pennsylvania when compared to Kerry 2004. However, those counties have seen significant population loss (or stagnation) since 1990.

    The simple demographic math of electoral Pennsylvania is: Democrats are improving performance in eastern Pennsylvania, an area with population growth significantly outpacing Pennsylvania as a whole; and Republicans are improving performance in western Pennsylvania, an area with population loss (or stagnation) far greater than Pennsylvania as a whole. That, above all reasons, is why no Republican has won Pennsylvania in a presidential election since 1988, and why no knowledgeable and careful analyst thinks Pennsylvania still is a “swing state.”

    Those are facts based on math, not opinions based on ideology.

  10. Guess what most of this country is full of lazy people. If PA doesn’t do something in less than 4 years 50% or our tax dollar will be going toward WELFARE!!!!! The law should be if you don’t pay taxes you don’t vote! Excluding seniors that put into the system. I’d say and the disabled but the reality is there are way toooooo many people on disability that shouldn’t be hence the welfare problem.

    Romney also came to PA too late. He ignored us for a long time and came in last minute.

    And Alleghney county is full of liberal republicans.

    PA gets whatever it deserves. We need to keep Corbett and he needs to get rid of welfare at a state level completely and let Obama take care of the people that voted him in.

  11. The free market failed most working people. You lose. You get nothing. Go home, fix your platform, or continue to lose.

  12. David is right.How do you expect to win when your platform and your candidates ooze disrepect for everyone who isn’t a sainted white “job creator”??

  13. ron – I hate to burst your bubble but…you’ve got it wrong:

    “But the reality is that WE lost this election for one reason, the failure to communicate our platform to these areas. It’s our fault.”

    You lost the election because the right-wing GOP message was communicated and rejected. FoxNews is blaming it on 50% of the country being lazy good-for-nothings that “want free stuff”. They have taken Romney’s contemptuous 47% and insulted another 3% of the country. The GOP does play to their white base by portraying non-whites as people to fear who are going to rob you or take away “your” country.
    Fox was all over one black guy standing at a polling place. The only “intimidating” thing he did was being black in public.

    Also, the GOP party, as a group, not only seeks to ban abortions, but limit contraception. Too many of the GOP leadership mistakenly equate contraception with abortion, and seek to ban morning after pills for rape victims. Even those willing to “allow” abortions for rape/incest are simultaneously trying to defund planned parenthood and close abortion clinics. So, rape/incest victims can have an abortion, but in some states they can’t find any place to perform one.

  14. OK Fellow Republicans and Libertarians. If you look at the Allegheny County map of the final election results for this year in Allegheny County, one of two counties that won Pennsylvania, you might be a pessimist, you might see armageddon, no hope, knowing that this small, economically depressed, largely African-American area essentially decided the Presidential race this year and 2008 as well.

    But the reality is that WE lost this election for one reason, the failure to communicate our platform to these areas. It’s our fault.

    Every failure is an opportunity in disguise. If you’re a free-market type like me, you see huge opportunity. We have the opportunity to launch an Urban Strategy for America. An opportunity in density of customers with a HUGE demand for real change, real progress.

    This area represents the greatest opportunity this country has seen, our party has seen, to communicate our ideas of free markets, civil liberties and political freedom, limited government, and free economy and markets.

    This is an area devastated by over 70 years of one-party Democrat rule that has taken for granted the good votes of the population, yet they deliver nothing but broken promises, broken dreams, broken communities.

    The customers see it too, I work every day in these communities and I know these good folk. They are motivated to try ideas that work. If there was ever a customer waiting to hear our message, to buy into the American Dream, it’s there, in these urban centers all over America. Lets get to work.

  • Who are you voting for in the PA Supreme Court race?

    • Dan McCaffery (61%)
    • Carolyn Carluccio (37%)
    • Still undecided (2%)

    Total Voters: 344

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