Mark Halperin: Obama Campaign Worried About Pennsylvania


  1. Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is true. If there were no threat here, Obama’s campaign would not respond by spending money. Pennsylvania is in play. Can Romney expand into Michigan and Minnesota too?

  2. David
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If the Obama campaign isn’t concerned about losing PA, MSNBC is certainly worried – especially if Andrea Mitchell is talking about it. Now, let’s see if the trifecta can be scored if Matthews and Schultz shout that PA must be held at all cost.

    • jvnvch
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think the Obama campaign thought they had Pennsylvania in the bag again, not to mention the country as a whole, simply because the 2008 election was a relatively easy win for them. It’s like they didn’t realize they got in light last time against a plodder who had to carry a lot of very heavy anti-incumbency weight, and failed to realize they are now carrying that heavy weight of a poor incumbency against a much quicker opponent. It seems they know it now, belatedly.

      • Svigor
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        McCain had a lot of his own baggage as well. He was old, short, crotchety, and looked like Darth Vader with his helmet off. Plus he was Mr. “Maverick” aisle-crosser, more concerned with losing gracefully and keeping his press love than bloodying his opponent.

      • jvnvch
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Those are some of the reasons I described McCain as a plodder. Romney is much quicker on his feet than McCain, and more ruthless, among other things. He’s a tough opponent, as all his Republican adversaries learned during the primaries.

    • DAMIEN
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      isnt pa matthews home state? beautiful

  3. SR
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I bet EVERYONE will be tuning into MSNBC on election night, just to watch their heads explode.

    • Adam
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I know I will! I may set up multiple TV’s, just so I don’t miss any of it… So many liberals, so much weeping and knashing of teeth! It’s gonna be great.

    • TheShaz
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Way ahead of you there. Just cleared some space on my DVR – Will be recording both FOX NEWS and M$NBC – will watch FOX NEWS Live and as soon as it is called for Romney, I will switch to M$NBC for the PURE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE.

      I am not a mean guy by nature, but I am so fed up with these liberals I want to see them go down in flames.
      Along with watching Mr Tingles explode, I will also be going to DU, KOS and Politico just to see them blow up.

      But I think the narrative is being written now. Obama lost because of Sandy. Obama lost because of Global Warming.

      • Svigor
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        I don’t watch TV (don’t even get TV), so I’m just going to save a bunch of comment threads from this week and re-read them on occasion.

    • DAMIEN
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      i got the hopper from dishnetwork…gonna dvr msnbc…beautiful

  4. stuckinmass
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Is his suggestion of Romney winnning PA and losing OH even realistic? I’d think if Romney won PA, then OH is a sure thing

    • Eric
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Romney’s up 2 or 3 in Ohio right now and Pennsylvania is around tied to Obama+1. That’s where I see the race anyways.

    • Eric
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Look at it from Obama’s perspective. He needs both Pennsylvania and Ohio to win, along with Wisconsin, which is somewhere around tied to Romney+1 (in WI). He needs all 3 states to win. Which one is in the biggest trouble of the three? That’s where you focus your energy, and that’s Ohio. His strategy has been to focus on Ohio primary, Wisconsin secondarily, and cross his fingers on Pennsylvania since it’s the most favorable for him. SuperPACs launching ads into Pennsylvania (for the first time in months) are forcing his hand to defend Pennsylvania as well.

    • Eric
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Also it appears the Romney campaign is putting ads on in Pennsylvania as well.

    • Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      As Barone noted, Ohio is stickier because it has less of the affluent suburbs than PA or even MI. Barone has said those suburbs are trending Romney. Ohio is much more consistently blue collar. However there is a clear enthusiasm gap. One thing I’ve noticed is that Romney has campaigned in places that have forced people to drive a decent distance – at least an hour to see him. Findlay, Marion, etc. People from Toledo can get there, but they have to drive – and I think they have. It was the same here in Tampa, going to Land O’Lakes. That’s a 45 minute drive for most people going north and it turned into a 2 hour drive due to traffic. But people didn’t turn around, instead they parked and walked two miles. Same in Ohio, seeing large lines queuing up in the cold and rain after likely driving a distance. Whereas Obama has campaign stops in places where he has a large population around him and yet he still can’t draw. 8500 in the heart of a city with over 300,000 people living in it. There were likely 20,000 people or more within a mile of where he was.

    • edtitan77
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve come to the conclusion a few weeks ago. In terms of racial makeup OH and PA have similar makeup. Even with Philly PA is about 84% White I thinkfolks miss that. Also there is a tad more diversity among PA nonwhites compared to Ohio, which is almost exclusively made up of Blacks. So Romney will do marginally better among nonwhites in PA than in OH.

      Obama is doing worse among Whites stands to reason PA would tighten.

      The thing of it is OH has been bombarded with ads for months and the auto bailout is popular there so Romney could conceivably underperform among Whites in OH compared to PA, lose OH and win PA.

      Finally no early voting in PA so dems have to get their base out in one day. Always a dicey proposition for them.

    • allthingsgeography1
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve heard some suggestion that Obama’s barrage of negative advertising and the auto bailout may have helped Obama “defy” gravity in Ohio vs. other places. Of course, the polling is based on high party-IDs, but if support for Obama (or against Romney) is high, he could potentially stay afloat in Ohio with higher D+ turnout than one might otherwise expect. Obama would need high partisan turnout to counteract the independents turning against him. I don’t know whether that is true or not (hope it is), we’ll find out in a week, but of course, if Romney were to win PA while losing Ohio, or win a couple other combination of weak blue states to make up for the loss in electoral votes from Ohio, the Obama victory in Ohio will be meaningless. To be honest, looking beyond electoral models and stats…just looking at the behavior of the campaigns, the fact that Romney is intruding into blue states tells me he has the edge and Obama doesn’t. These things are like businesses…you don’t throw away your money on garbage ideas. You invest your money into potentially viable ideas. And if I were Romney, after seeing these favorable polls, I would definitely consider investing money in the Great Lakes and northern Midwest states.

      • zang
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        I’ve operated under the theory that while there is an electoral college, the nation largely moves together. This isn’t like the days when you need a horse to deliver news from one state to the next. I guess my theory will be tested if Romney wins the popular vote, but loses the election because Ohio refuses to follow.

      • allthingsgeography1
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        The winner of the elections in 1876, 1888 and 2000 won the electoral college without winning the popular vote by an average of 1.45% (all were Republicans interestingly enough…Hayes, Harrison and Bush). Harrison and Bush had popular vote losses of less than 1% with Hayes having a loss of 3% points over his Democratic opponent. So the possibility does exist, although I would agree that generally the more Democratic or Republican the nation becomes as a whole, the more the individual states tend to trend in the same direction which makes sense since they make up the nation itself. It will be interesting to see if Ohio defies the trend or simply follows it as one would expect.

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        I’ve found the people thinking we could have a popular vote, electoral vote split to be humorous. It’s possible, but unlikely. It’s a fairly rare phenomenon, happening only four times in the history of the United States over 53 different elections. An incumbent has never won by losing the popular vote and winning the electoral college – the most likely scenario this time around if we were going to go that way. I think most of us are reasonably expecting that Romney will win the popular vote, though we don’t know if it’ll be close or not. The multiple polls showing him winning the independents by 10-20% and the soft polling of Obama in places like Massachusetts, California, and Oregon mean that his large wins from 2008 will be far less common. We’ve also had three different polls that have indicated anything from an even R/D split to a nearly R+3 advantage, but Gallup, Pew, and Rasmussen all do not show any advantage for Democratic turnout.

        Historically incumbent Presidents are the ones that expand the map if they are to win. There are a few exceptions, but they come in extraordinary circumstances. Woodrow Wilson picked up nearly three million more popular votes in 1916 but fell down to 277 electoral votes from the 435 he earned in 1912, but 1912 was a unique year with four candidates running. The incumbent, Taft, had support bleed off when Teddy Roosevelt entered as a third party candidate for the Progressives because he was dissatisfied with Taft. Debs also picked up 6% of the vote for the Socialists. All told, TR and Taft accounted for over 50% of the vote.

        The other circumstance was the third and fourth terms of FDR, though FDR did expand the map in 1936. With the cloud of war hanging over the country both times, there just wasn’t the strongest of opposition. I’d also say that a 3rd and 4th term are outliers anyways.

        But in every historical case, Presidents that had to defend more reliable turf for their parties have lost. That’s not to say its impossible, but the historical trends indicate that once a sitting President bleeds off states that got him in the office in the first place, the ball just keeps on rolling.

        If Obama wins by carrying less electoral votes than last time, it will be the first time in US history in an election that occurs within the standard two term context and without any substantive third party challengers. Even George W. Bush managed to expand the map in 2004.

      • allthingsgeography1
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Excellent points.

    • displacedRhodeIslandConservative
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree that it seems odd that PA is tight and OH isn’t in the bag…I find these statistically meaningful shifts in EVERY state and their application across battlegrounds should generally serve as at worst thermometers and more ideally good predictors…NJ is moving right, PA is moving right, MI is moving right, IN is moving right,,,so follows Ohio into the Romney win column….

    • UncleFred
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Correct. If Romney wins Pa he’ll win Ohio.

  5. Kent Ostby
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The other thing this does is brings along the rest of the ticket including Mandel, Smith, and Thompson.

    Even if he wins Ohio, Romney could possibly help himself if he can give himself one or two more GOP Senators.

    • Porchlight
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’ve been thinking the same thing. I think Smith and Thompson could win even if Romney doesn’t take both PA and WI.

  6. Daniel Berry
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The auto bailout Ohio thing is overplayed. The vast majority of Ohioans are NOT tied to the auto industry. The Union workers that benefitted were going to vote Democrat anyway. I live in Ohio, I hear the union people talk their angry BS toward whatever Republican happens to be running in EVERY election, not just this year. That talk turns OFF a large chunk of Ohio voters every year. The noise you hear on TV is more wishful thinking by Democrats than fact. I think this will end like the Wisc. recall- A Republican victory in Ohio and a bunch of stunned Democrats that still don’t understand how their anger is turning off their neighbors.

  7. Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    this year is either going to come down exactly as the polls say now and Obama wins….media happy, they claim Romney’s “surge” was too little, too late…Obama wins razor thin race.


    This election is going to stand on it’s head nearly EVERY political piece of conventional wisdom there is. Much like 2008 when Missouri lost it’s bellweather status for the first time in a century, Indiana was a surprise Obama pick-up and of course the US elects the first black president. Maybe the country has changed so much that there is no such thing as conventional wisdom it is all out the door and we write it as it goes along.

    Because if Rommey wins…the media will flip out they will claim racism, stealing, cheating, etc and point to people like Silver and Intrade as “evidence” this was Obama’s race and they stole it. The only insulation from this a landslide. But also if Romney does something miraculous like win PA but Lose Ohio…again wisdom out the door. No Republican has won the WH without OH. To flip a deep blue but lose a pink swing would be just ferkin weird.

    • Interested Party
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think so. This is a lot like 1980, for those of us who remember that far ago. Perhaps there is some 1992 mixed in, but that was a three person race. There is an undercurrent of displeasure with O that is just underneath the polls. O and crowd really are counting on a base turnout election with 2008 demographics. Their strategic error was assuming that the electoral demographic composition mirrored the 2008 political composition. It clearly doesn’t if you look at Gallup and Rassmussen. The problem now is that most of the poll aggregators like RCP and Election Projection will be forced to use polls older than one week due to the storm. There will be the movement of the remaining undecideds towards R in the next 3-4 days that will not be caught by the averages, and it will still look closer than it is (in fact, in retrospect, it will be the excuse that everyone uses when they miss it). Look, the fundamentals are there for R, the poll movement is there for R, and the undecideds will likely break for R. O is an incumbent, but ran his campaign like a challenger. He’s going to lose this one. The only thing left is the composition of the Senate.

      • UncleFred
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        1980 was also a three person race. Without Anderson for disillusioned Dems to park their vote, Reagan would not have won so many eastern “blue” states. But Anderson was there, and at 8:30 eastern time the networks called the race for Reagan, and a huge chunk of Dems in time zones where the polls had not close simply failed to vote, giving the Republicans the Senate and narrowing their advantage in the house.

  8. Kevin
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think Halperin might know something, but he’s being gentle about saying it. He was on MSDNC earlier in the day, and talk about how Obama is playing defense in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. He sounded concerned that Obama is sending resources to Pennsylvania, and how Joe Biden is going to be in Scranton for a rally.

  9. Porchlight
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Does anyone else look at Mark Halperin, especially in the last six weeks or so, and see a guy who knows which way the wind is blowing and wants to position himself for “access” in the Romney administration? I’m not saying he likes what’s happening to Obama, but he seems better prepared for it.

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