Obama +6 in Pennsylvania, Still Below 50% — Philadelphia Inquirer

President Obama holds a solid lead over Mitt Romney 49 to 43 with 7% Undecided in the latest Inquirer Pennsylvania poll.  Despite the lead it is curious that President Obama can’t crack 50% in the survey evidencing all lot of weakness underneath that top-line lead.  In  an infographic provided by the paper, tells why it is such an uphill battle for Romney.  In a 5-county subset Obama is viewed favorably 65 to 32 while Mitt Romney’s favorables are under-water at 38 to 58.  And in that 5-county area President Obama leads 58 to 35. Obama also leads with Independents 56 to 35. These are all tough margins to swallow for the Romney crowd although questions on the size of this subset are warranted. Results of the Inquirer Pennsylvania Poll are based on live telephone interviews with 600 likely voters, conducted from Oct. 23 through Oct. 25, and subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.  If they only polled 600 statewide, that doesn’t leave a lot of “local” voters to carve out and have a representative sample so take today’s results as just one of many snapshots in time. Tomorrow could be very different.  The paper also acknowledges “the poll gives Obama a wider margin than some other Pennsylvania surveys. The website RealClearPolitics puts Obama’s average lead in recent polls here at 4.8 percent.” I would be very curious how this poll was run because the Inquirer says it used a “team of pollsters” which begs all sorts of questions on methodology.

President Obama holds a six-point lead over Mitt Romney in a new Inquirer Pennsylvania Poll with just over nine full days of campaigning left for the Republican nominee to make a play for the state. Obama was the choice of 49 percent of likely voters, to 43 percent who backed Romney in the survey conducted for the newspaper by a bipartisan team of pollsters. The new numbers came out as one Republican group made a television ad buy on Friday that might signal a last-minute Romney push in Pennsylvania. The poll’s margin represents a net swing of two percentage points in Romney’s favor since the last Inquirer survey, which found the president ahead 50 percent to 42 percent in the first week of October.

On Friday, one Republican group signaled it might launch an ad blitz in an effort to push Pennsylvania into Romney’s column. The group Americans for Job Security reserved at least $454,150 worth of airtime on Philadelphia broadcast stations and more than $200,000 worth of time on cable channels in the market, according to Federal Communications Commission reports and political sources that track ad spending. That time could be used for spots aimed at attacking Obama or boosting Romney. Americans for Job Security had mostly supported GOP congressional candidates around the country, until it threw itself into the presidential race in late September with an initial swing-state buy of $8.7 million.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 49
Mitt Romney 43
Undecided 7


  1. Prescient11
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have to say, I call BS on this poll. Obama does not lead with independents. Period.

    Especially in coal country. PA is in play, they should at least put up some of their best, positive commercials and blanket the state. Extra tough on coal and natural resources in the west, obamacare/deficits in the east.

  2. Guest
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    The Philly Inquirer has consistently been an outlier, showing Obama leading among independents. But their last poll had Obama up by some even more incredible margin. It’s likely a race within 4 points.

    • NHConservative
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink | Reply

      The Inquirer has always been in the tank for Democrats. When I lived there in the 80’s, they endorsed Carter and Mondale. That says it all.

  3. Blackcloud
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink | Reply

    At least we know early voting didn’t skew this poll.

  4. Eric
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    Obama probably leads with independents in Pennsylvania. Independents vary from state to state. Kerry won independents by 17% and Obama by 19% in 2004 and 2008. The lead among independents is probably smaller than what this poll suggests. Muhlenberg has it at 18%. Quinnipiac says 7%. PPP says 10%. Rasmussen says they are tied among independents, but Rasmussen has been all over the map in regards to independents.

    Romney’s strength in Pennsylvania comes from winning Democratic votes, especially in western Pennsylvania.

    • Guest
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink | Reply

      Not what I last remembered, though. I seem to remember Mitt leading with Indies in one poll. Muhlenberg or something… It’s impossible for him to be down so much and yet so close overall.

      • Eric
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        There aren’t a lot of independents in PA really. That’s why the state isn’t very swingy compared to other places. People have this myth that there are a ton more Democrats in PA than Republicans. It’s just not the case. The state was D+2 in 2004 and D+7 in 2008. Romney’s going to do better with his base than Obama will with his base. That’s where the battle is fought. If Romney can get the turnout to be somewhere close to even or D+1/D+2 or so, win crossover votes, and hold the margin with independents down to losing them by just a small amount, then he can win Pennsylvania.

        A lot of independents in PA are liberals in the Philly suburbs. They’re really Democrats who vote Democrat in every election but they call themselves independents, just like liberals like to call themselves “moderate.”

  5. Blackcloud
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    To win a Republican candidate needs to win the four suburban Philly counties. Corbett and Toomey did in 2010, and voila, they won the state. I’d love to see a poll of just Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Mongtomery, but I doubt we will since that would be prohibitively expensive. I do recall seeing one poll that did regional breakdowns and it showed Romney winning southeastern PA something like 49-35. But I can’t recall which poll it was, and it was a few weeks ago. It’s probably changed since then. Interestingly enough, all the Republican Congressional reps from Southeastern PA are expected to win. Yet that doesn’t seem to be translating to the presidential race.

    • Guest
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      Rarely does…

    • Blackcloud
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink | Reply

      I found that poll showing Romney up in southeastern PA. Throw it out. The pollster included parts of south central PA (Lancaster, York) which are heavily Republican in “southeastern PA.” Totally worthless, in other words.


    • displacedRhodeIslandConservative
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I live in Philly and can definitively say that the suburbs look to be very heavily Romney. Each weekend we travel throughout North East, North West and Western suburbs (all within 15 miles or so of the dense Obamalands of the inner city). I would say that most days over the last 3 weekends has been at least a 3:1 Romney to Obama count (we only count individual homes not signs). Today we were in Springfield, Upper Darby, Morton, Clifton Heights and Drexel Hll and we counted 44 Romney signs to 19 Obamas and that was including some signs that appeared to have been placed street side (not by homeowners…but I threw it in anyways…) There is also A LOT of local conservative support as well for Smith and local state. As my handle says I’m not from here, but the support is impressive and locals say its a stunning reversal from McCain. All anecdotal data, but I think it looks pretty promising!

  6. Blackcloud
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    Democratic margins are usually so great in presidential races in PA that the Dem can afford to shed a lot of support and still win comfortably. Just look at 2004.

  7. MikeN
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    Team of pollsters, and the best they could come up with is 600 voters? If it’s a team, then the 4% margin of error is incorrect.
    You can’t combine polls with 7% margin of error and end up with 4% margin of error.

    • Guest
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink | Reply

      And the information is scarce…

  8. Pa John
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink | Reply

    This poll is not as bad as it appears. In 2008 there 6,015,000 total votes cast. Philly and the 4 suburban counties were 2,025,000 of the total of the state vote. McCain only carried 32.6% (661,000) of this vote. He did however carry the rest of the state with just over 50% of the remaining 3,990,000. If Romney can increase his take to 38% in Philly and the 4 burbs he would need about 56% in remainder of state. (2025 x .38) + (3990 x. 56) would be 3,000,000 statewide votes. This was the winning formula for Gov Corbett and Sen Toomey in 2010. The Inquirer poll is showing Romney closing in on the magic 38%. One extra tidbit, 2008 turnout was 68.5% and registered voters are down this year by 315,000. Assuming similar turnout this year expect 5.8 million to vote.

    • PeterJ
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Extrapolating your figures on a spreadsheet, and assuming 32% is the floor for Philly+burbs and 40% is the ceiling, I get the following breakeven/tie points:
      [Philly+burbs % – Rest state %]
      32% – 59.1%
      33% – 58.6%
      34% – 58.1%
      35% – 57.6%
      36% – 57.1%
      37% – 56.6%
      38% – 56.1%
      39% – 55.6%
      40% – 55.1%

      So basically for every extra 1% gain in Philly+burbs Romney would need 1/2% less in the rest of the state to maintain breakeven/tie. It would be helpful to break it down further by what percentage the western coal counties constitute of the rest of the state figure.

  9. Pa John
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    @peter j…your numbers are just about historically correct. In 2010 Toomey got 38.2 in philly and 4 counties and won rest of state by 57.4for a 2 point 80,000 vote win. Corbetts numbers were 40.2 and 61.55 for a 9 point 360,000 vote win. Basically if a Republican is polling @37 in philly area that’s the minimum amount needed for a statewide win. A Republican polling at 40 is looking at a cakewalk. I suspect the Inquirer is close on their Philly area polling. But for Obama to be + 6 statewide he would have to be tied elsewhere. Considering McCain outpolled Obama outside philly I find that impossible. The Inquirer poll had Obama up 58-35. If Romney takes 2 of 7 remaining undecided he gets to the minimum 37.

    • PeterJ
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The question is how much of the rest of the state is accounted for by the western coal counties minus Pittsburgh metro area. If they go strongly for Romney then the “rest of the rest” has to go past 50% for Obama for him to be up statewide +6. And fundamentally, just how has the rest of PA benefited from the past four years or think they will in the next four if O wins? If they vote their pocketbooks today, which is the basis for that U of CO professor’s model that projects an EC win for Romney, then no way they go strong for Obama.

      • Pa John
        Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        I would guess 12-13% of rest of state is coal counties. Obama would have to be polling 2 pts higher than 2008 to be at 50% in rest of state. Not happening.

  10. Bryan
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t understand how the Rasmussen swing state tracking poll is 51 Romney 46 Obama while the only state(s) with that large a lead for Romney in the swing states might be FL and CO (+4), even according to Rasmussen. You’d think that the “average” of the states would be lower than Romney +5, especially when he’s including a state like PA in the “swing” state tracking poll. Can anyone explain this???

    • Bryan
      Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry, NC is Romney +6, but still…

One Trackback

  1. […] The latest Philadelphia Inquirer poll only polled 600 people, and we don’t know the D/R/I split. For all we know it could have a D+10 sample. But it’s still notable that President Obama has dropped to under 50% in this poll. He now leads Romney 49 to 43. The Real Clear Politics average shows Obama with a 4.8 point lead in the state, but there are a few polls showing the race there is much closer. It could get even closer when pro-Romney ads start airing. […]

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