Pennsylvania Rumblings

Jim Geraghty of National Review’s “Morning Jolt” sent out more Pennsylvania info from his informed source “Middle Cheese”in today’s email (not on the web yet):

Count me as a skeptic on Blue Pennsylvania turning Red at the Presidential level. But . . . a new Susquehanna polling and research poll of 1376 likely voters shows Romney with a 49 percent to 45 percent lead over Obama in PA. Real Clear Politics rates PA a “toss up,” with Obama leading Romney by an average of 5 points in recent polls, 49.7 to 44.7 percent.

Team Romney put its toe in the water today by sending Paul Ryan to an airport campaign rally in Pittsburgh on his way to Ohio. My campaign sources me they are watching the poll numbers closely and are open to making a play for PA by sending some of their higher profile surrogates for a late push.

The GOP’s message about Obama’s “war on coal” is gaining traction in the western part of the state. And Democratic enthusiasm isn’t what it was in 2008. Still, Pennsylvania reminds me of Lucy with the football.

But Jim Geraghty isn’t the only person with Pennsylvania sources.  One of our own smart readers sent some rather interesting thoughts yesterday on how and when Mitt Romney could/should wade into the Keystone State.  We’ll come up with clever monikers some other time:

on the media front, Romney has to decide by Friday if he wants to go into PA (and MI and MN).  As you point out, PA is basically the anti-early voting state.  You can go in late and make waves.  I believe the Romney high command is going to make a decision in the middle of the week as to whether to devote paid media to these icing on the cake states.  That isn’t any sort of inside info, that’s how I imagine the thought process is going on.  If you start airing ads on 10/26 or 10/27, you still have 10-11 days until the election.  That’s enough time to get a message out and to change numbers.  If he wants to go at it, I would advise him to spend the entirety of next Saturday in the state.  Start the day in suburban Philly.  Have a noontime rally in the Harrisburg area.  Have a late afternoon blowout in the Pittsburgh suburbs.  Part of the value of playing in PA would be the shock value.  It would be the big story of the weekend.  If he doesn’t do it by Friday, I think it would be too late to get any movement with a week or less of advertising.  Ideally, the buys would come down Friday afternoon, forcing the Obama media buyers to work a nice hard long weekend 😉

honestly, if Romney gets 52% of the national popular vote, he’ll win PA.  That’s what it comes down to.  If he wins by 6 points nationally, he’ll win whether he puts media in or not.


  1. housebroken dad
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    This doesn’t have anything to do with PA but I wanted to dump these numbers somewhere:
    Numbers have trickled in for the 2 big counties in NV for 2nd day of early voting.
    (through day 2)
    27,494 D
    11,109 R

    31,430 D
    18,112 R

    Total early vote in 2008 (no daily breakdown that I can find)
    63,396 D
    36,522 R

    6,866 D
    5,449 R

    As you can see, Washoe is trending very well so far through the first two days. Eat that Ralston.

    • Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink | Reply

      Housebroken Dad, I have a Nevada early voting post ready to roll I just digging for those 2008 Washoe County #s myself. It will build off my post where I modeled out the expected 2012 early vote. The GOP is doing great in Clark County early voting. They are destroying the 2008 performance and greatly surpassing my model. Granted it is only 2 days and I tried to be both honest and conservative in my model, but so far so good for Team Nevada!

      • Vadim
        Posted October 22, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink


        Rasmussen has great numbers out of Colorado this morning: 50 R : 46 O.

  2. novahockey
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink | Reply

    I say you make a play. Obama is struggling because he failed to expand his map. thought he could play D the whole time. Fight for PA now so if you win, in 4 years it’s a forward operating base and not behind the lines. Make the D nominee fight to take it back.

    granted, i have family in PA, so I have a bit of a rooting interest.

  3. Craig keshishian
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m a former Reagan WH pollster/analyst, a former lieutenant to Dick Wirthlin. PA is in play, driven like a piston rod by the western part thru the main line suburbs. Remember the W lost it by .75 in 04. This state is retrievable with dynamics like coal aligning with R.

    • Posted October 22, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink | Reply

      In Missouri a few years ago Matt Blunt won the governor’s seat by disproving a long held belief you had to have at least Kansas City or St. Louis to win a statewide, rural alone couldn’t do it. He lost both and still won handedly.

      Is Pennsylvania shaping up like that? the rural areas enthusiasm will drive past the city dems lack of enthusiasm…

    • valleyforge
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Bush lost it by exactly 2.5% in 2004.

  4. Interested Party
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve said this for a few months now. Coal kills O in the West, Obamacare kills O in the East. The T always hated him. Turnout in Philly will be down due to a voter roll purge by Corbett, and even though voter ID won’t be required, it can be asked for.

    This one will be close–within 1-2%, but I suspect that R will win it, ads or not.

  5. valleyforge
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Of course you put up ads. Where else is the Romney campaign going to spend all the cash it’s sitting on? Not much marginal utility in increasing ad spending in over-saturated Ohio or Iowa. Perhaps, as your reader implies, they are simply waiting til the last minute to get the element of surprise.

    But don’t stop at PA. They should blitz Minnesota, Michigan, and Oregon as well. They’ve seen few ads or visits and are all within 3-6 points.

    Keith coined Obama’s firewall a “Maginot Line” yesterday. But the Germans didn’t throw themselves at the French fortifications. They wheeled around them and the French retreated to avoid being outflanked, letting the Maginot Line collapse.

    Likewise, if Romney goes on offense in MN, MI, PA, and OR in the last 2 weeks the Obama campaign will go into full panic, triage their supposed firewall (bye-bye NH and CO), and lose simply because they are defending too much territory. Obama did something similar in 2008, opening fronts in Georgia, Montana, and Arizona. The last was a reach, but McCain couldn’t defend all those states and had no choice but to make a hopeless foray into PA, fatally weakening his defenses in OH, FL, VA, IN, and NC in the last two weeks.

    • No Tribe
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Good post. That last paragraph is exactly why Obama is in Florida two times already after the debate. They already see it coming too, and are going to make a desperate bid to take Florida.

  6. TeaPartyPaul
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What would 2 million dollar buys in PA, MI, MN get you? Major media markets have to be super expensive in PA. Maybe a 2 to 4 buy in the last three days or five days of election.

  7. Kevin
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Some other “under the radar” rumblings in the Quaker State is Bob Casey is starting to look like he’s got a fight on this hands.

    Excluding the Philadelphia Inquirer poll (+10) and PPP (+11) which look out of wack, three polls show Casey up Rasmussen (+4), Morning Call/Allentown Newspaper (+2), and Quinnipiac (+3). That Senate seat was suppose to be “a lock” for the Democrats.

  8. Blackcloud
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The latest poll from Muhlenberg College/Allentown Morning Call shows Obama and Casey gaining a couple of points each. It’s D+6, which seems reasonable. But the sample is only 444 voters, which seems on the smaller side.,0,2558308.story

    • Blackcloud
      Posted October 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      But Gravis has it 48-45 Obama. Sample is D+8, less plausible than the MC/MC poll. But the size is 887, which is not quite twice as large. Generally larger sample sizes are better since they produce smaller margins of error. Or so I vaguely recall learning in statistics class a long time ago.

      • Blackcloud
        Posted October 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Both polls are of PA, I should add, since I didn’t make that clear.

  9. Derclaw86
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    There is actually a very effective campaign already going on in Pennsylvania. Tom Smith the Republican Senate candidate and Keith Rothfus, a southwest PA Congressional candidate, are attacking their Democratic opponents with the following type of message: “Barack Obama has been horrible for Pennsylvania. He has exploded the debt, driven up unemployment, and imposed horrible EPA regulations that are killing our coal industry and jobs. Vote for me because my Democratic opponent is a rubber-stamp for Obama’s lousy policies that are killing Pennsylvania.” The Democrats and their allies have responded by mostly attacking the Republican challengers or by defending the incumbent Democrats. However, the narrative that Obama is lousy for Pennsylvania has gone largely unopposed since the Obama campaign isn’t spending any money there. We have a situation where if Romney stays away from Pennsylvania, then Obama stays away from Pennsylvania (to use his scarce cash reserves elsewhere). This allows the statewide anti-Obama narrative to stand unopposed. This situation can be further amplified if the incumbent Democrats, in an effort to save their political hides, begin to start distancing themselves from Barrack Obama during the next two weeks. Thus, Romney and his Super-PACS should stay out of Pennsylvania unless Obama goes in there first.

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