Category Archives: Pennsylvania

The Post-Motems Continue to Roll In

The exit polling data around election day has a notoriously wide margin of error, so as the “final” data comes rolling in, most notably through the Current Population Survey, more accurate inferences can be drawn from an election it is still hard to fathom that Barack Obama won.  This AP news write-up draws more of the same conclusions many of us already know: white people stayed home, african-americans voted in droves, wash, rinse, repeat:

America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press.

Census data and exit polling show that whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups of eligible voters for the next decade. Last year’s heavy black turnout came despite concerns about the effect of new voter-identification laws on minority voting, outweighed by the desire to re-elect the first black president.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, analyzed the 2012 elections for the AP using census data on eligible voters and turnout, along with November’s exit polling. He estimated total votes for Obama and Romney under a scenario where 2012 turnout rates for all racial groups matched those in 2004. Overall, 2012 voter turnout was roughly 58 percent, down from 62 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2004.

The Battlegrounds:

Romney would have erased Obama’s nearly 5 million-vote victory margin and narrowly won the popular vote if voters had turned out as they did in 2004, according to Frey’s analysis. Then, white turnout was slightly higher and black voting lower.

More significantly, the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and Colorado would have tipped in favor of Romney, handing him the presidency if the outcome of other states remained the same.

Seven Battleground Counties to Watch on Election Night

Same original author as the earlier piece (Chris Palko) but an election night spin on each county with few repeats.  This guy does good work. Lots of smart info:

Looking for some shortcuts when it comes to projecting which candidate has the edge Tuesday night? Once returns start coming in, turn your focus to these seven counties—they will be small scale indicators of that state and national results:

Prince William County, VA
Virginia will be one of the first states to report results on Tuesday night, and Prince William County is the most important county there. Romney needs to win the county to win Virginia. George W. Bush and Bob McDonnell were able to win the county rather solidly. There has been an influx of immigrants in the past decade, and as a consequence it has a somewhat more Democratic lean than before. This will also be a good check to see if the Romney and Obama campaigns’ assumptions about the demographics of the electorate are correct.

Lake County, OH
This is the closest county in the most important state. Lake County is the eastern suburbs of Cleveland and the best gauge for how the entire state will vote. In 2004, Bush won the county by the same margin as he won the state. Obama ran a bit worse than his state percentages in 2008 but was able to win.  Watching Lake County is the best shortcut for projecting Ohio results on election night.

Bucks County, PA
In the critical suburban Philadelphia area, Chester County is most likely going for Romney and Montgomery and Delaware Counties will go for Obama. The swingiest of them all is Bucks County, north of Philadelphia.  Monday’s Romney rally that garnered some 30,000 supporters was held here for exactly that reason. In 2004, Bucks went for John Kerry by three percentage points, the exact same margin as the rest of the state. It has trended right in the past few years, as Republican Pat Toomey won the county 53 percent to 47 percent in his 2010 Senate race. Romney has to keep the margins close in suburban Philadelphia, and he has to win Bucks to do so.

Jefferson County, CO
In a heavily polarized state, the Denver suburbs hold the balance of power. Jefferson County, along with its suburban neighbors, voted for Bush in 2004 by small margins and then flipped to Obama in 2008. Romney had one of his most memorable campaign rallies at Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is in Jefferson County. Whichever candidate wins this county is going to win Colorado.

Washoe County, NV
The dynamic of Nevada politics is Democratic Clark County against Republican outstate areas, with Reno in the middle. For Romney to win Nevada, he has to win Washoe County. In 2004 and 2008, it matched the state percentages for Bush and Obama. A win here doesn’t guarantee Romney a victory in Nevada, but it is a necessary component.

Racine County, WI
Racine County is slightly more Republican than Wisconsin as a whole. Bush narrowly won it in 2004, while he barely lost the state overall.  Even so, anything more than a narrow Romney victory would augur well for him in a county that is a representative blend of urban, suburban and rural areas. It’s also worth watching due to the potential gains in Southern Wisconsin that could accrue with Paul Ryan, their congressman on the ticket. The potential for adding independents and some Democrats, who have voted for Ryan for years, to the Romney column could be decisive in a close state.

Oakland County, MI
The county that Mitt Romney grew up in is worth watching for a few reasons. First, if Romney wants to pull an upset in Michigan, he must win Oakland County. Second, it is precisely the sort of northern affluent suburb Republicans have had problems with at the presidential level for the past 20 years. Gains here would be indicative of Romney strength in other affluent suburbs in key states and a significant difference between a winning Romney coalition and the previous winning coalition that George W. Bush assembled.

“That’s when you know you’re gonna win” — Mitt Romney to Pittsburgh fans at airport

Mitt Romney arrived in Pittsburgh for his final rally. He was greeted by hundreds of fans across the street from the tarmac at an airport garage trying to get a glimpse of the next President. He waved to them and according to the press got a little choked up saying “That’s when you know you’re gonna win”:

8 Battleground Counties to Decide the Election

Addendum:  This is a re-post from September 20 that I think has held up pretty well.  The biggest difference I’d say is Florida is almost certainly out of reach for Obama so look at Scott County, Iowa as a good one tonight.  You can also scroll through the numerous posts on various Battleground Counties across the county.

[Begin Original Post] That headline is a bit of a stretch but reader Roland Tilden sends a link to a story by Smart Media Group’s Chris Palko who breaks down 10 counties he believes Romney must win to carry the election.   And since we love Battleground Counties almost as much as we love Battleground States, this was right up our alley. What is consistent about the counties selected is each is a big population center so that understandably impacts election outcomes and each was a Bush 2004 and an Obama 2008 county. Not coincidentally Mitt Romney’s original bus tour in June hit a great many of these counties and will almost certainly do so again this time.

The only thing I don’t like about the list is 2 counties are in North Carolina which is not a Battleground in my opinion. In Palko’s defense, this story was originally published in April so his choices are really excellent so far out. As for North Carolina, it’s a state Romney will win by 5-10%. And until President Obama actually campaigns in the state (he hasn’t in all of 2012 outside of his Convention), it’s very likely a GOP pickup with minimal effort from this point forward and not worthy of much attention beyond that acknowledgement.

We have profiled a number of these counties whose links I provide below.  Where there is a battlegroundwatch.com post specifically on one of the cities he mentions, I provided the link as well in addition to my “Battle for [State]” series for each state. With that said, here are the eight Battleground Counties (in reverse order of impact according to Palko) that will go a long way to deciding the election: Hillsborough County, N.H. , Prince William County, Va., Chester County, Pa., Jefferson County, Colo., Arapahoe County, Colo., Hamilton County, Ohio, Pinellas County, Fla., Hillsborough County, Fla.

#8: Hillsborough County  New Hampshire
2004: Bush 51 – 48 2008: Obama 51 – 48
Population: 400,721 Largest city: Manchester

Palko: Most of New Hampshire’s population is close to the Massachusetts state line, which Hillsborough County straddles. It contains a vital grouping of towns and cities including Manchester and Nashua, the two largest cities in the state. Both are swing communities, in the electoral sense.

Battlegroundwatch: This is the location of Mitt Romney’s summer home, the place where he launched his Presidential bid and where he kicked off his June bus tour. They have spent money on the air, these voters are Mitt Romney kind of Republicans and the state has had a Republican resurregence.  Ripe for the plucking but it will be a battle to the end.

#7: Prince William County Virginia
2004: Bush 53 – 47 2008: Obama 58-42
Population: 402,002 Largest community: Dale City

Palko: Prince William County is an exurban county about 25 miles southwest of Washington D.C. It’s on the edge between the traditional, conservative Virginia, and the more progressive suburbs outside the capital. Prince William has become very diverse in recent years, particularly in the I-95 corridor. A hard swing towards Obama was key for him winning Virginia.

Battlegroundwatch: I would have ranked this much higher and definitely in the top 3. This is Obama’s bread-basket: upwardly mobile suburban moderates who trended strongly for Obama in 2008 but whose support has softened in the difficult economic environment. This is where Romney will need to make his mark if he is going to stem the tide of Northern Virginia dominance by Democrats.

  #6 Chester County Pennsylvania
2004: Bush 52 – 47.5 2008: Obama 54 – 45
Population: 498,886 Largest city: West Chester

Palko: Of the four suburban Philly counties, Chester was the only one that Bush won in 2004. The tail end of the prestigious Main Line is in the county, but so is the disadvantaged city of Coatesville. In between, there are plenty of middle-class suburbs, and even still some farmland. This is one of the few counties in Pennsylvania showing substantial population growth, so its importance is increasing.

Battlegroundwatch: It was no accident that the “youthful” Paul Ryan (early-40s is still youthful, right?) and the Romney sons have hit this area hard .  Similar to the suburban growth outside of DC in Virginia, this area outside Pennsylvania is full of persuadable Romney voters.  To win the state, Republicans must begin performing well here and in neighboring counties and they’ll never crack this nut.

#5 Jefferson County Colorado 
2004: Bush 52 – 47 2008: Obama 54 – 45
Population: 534,543 Largest city: Lakewood

Palko: Colorado is a heavily polarized state divided between very liberal Dems in Denver and Boulder, and very conservative Reps in Colorado Springs and the rural areas. The balance of power is held by the handful of counties in suburban Denver. Jefferson County to the west of the city is truly a purple county closely mirroring Colorado’s overall results in the last two presidential contests.

Battlegroundwatch: Filled with one of my favorite stories this cycle about battleground Precinct 7202330176 in Lakewood, a neighborhood who has called all but one statewide race correct since 2000. The swingiest of swing voters, Jefferson has been a regular stop for both sides all election season. Crowd sizes have been huge for Romney and flipping suburban white voters will be the key like they were in 2008 when they flipped for Obama.

#4  Arapahoe County Colorado
2004: Bush 51 – 48 2008: Obama 56 – 43
Population: 572,003 Largest city: Aurora

Palko: Arapahoe County is to the southeast of Denver and, like Jefferson, it’s a purple county that determines which party wins CO. It contains most of Aurora, the second biggest city in the Denver area. The county, and Aurora in particular, has seen a major increase in its Hispanic population in the past decade. This development has made the county a bit more Democratic than its neighbors.

Battlegroundwatch: The key here are the unaffiliated voters who much like Jefferson County swung for Obama in 2008.  Economy is the key.  These are upper middle income workers who often commute to Denver but fall into the pure suburban stereo-type.  Issues like taxes and jobs resonate strongly with this crowd who has unfortunately seen its fair share of recent tragedies.

#3 Hamilton County Ohio
2004: Bush 52.5 – 47 2008: Obama 53 – 46
Population: 802,374 Largest city: Cincinnati

Palko: Cincinnati is one of the most Republican metro areas outside of the South, but the central city county of Hamilton is a swing county. Hamilton County is worth watching, in part, because African-American turnout will be crucial. Sustaining high African-American turnout can make or break Obama’s reelection hopes. [Obama was] the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson to carry the county.

Battlegroundwatch: A great boon for Obama in 2008 in a state where he underperformed national margins, his win in Hamilton was a shocker.  This is Rob Portman country so look for the debate prep partner and VP short-lister to be featured prominently in efforts to flip this back. This once reliable GOP region must flip if Romney is to have any chance in Ohio.

#2 Pinellas County Florida
2004: Bush 49.6 – 49.5 2008: Obama 54 – 45
Population: 916,542 Largest city: St. Petersburg

Palko: The top counties are both part of Florida’s I-4 Corridor, which runs through the Daytona Beach, Orlando and Tampa areas. The I-4 is the most important region in this presidential election. In Pinellas County, St. Petersburg has some neighborhoods that are solidly Democratic, but most of the territory is split 50/50. Every precinct could make the difference between winning and losing.

Battlegroundwatch: I would have inserted Henrico Couty, VA here (bigger Battleground, Florida trending GOP). But Pinellas is an interesting county w/a lot of conflicting politics.  It was a strong Romney county in the primaries where he doubled his nearest competitor. Unsurprisingly Ann Romney has been featured prominently in this county next door to the Republican Convention.

#1 Hillsborough County Florida
2004: Bush 53 – 46 2008: Obama 53 – 46
Population: 1,229,226 Largest city: Tampa

Palko: The most crucial county this fall is on the other side of Tampa Bay from Pinellas, the runner-up. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa and its immediate suburbs, is the only county listed with more than one million residents. Still, it’s a fairly accurate small-scale version of America. It has a solidly Democratic central city that includes large African-American and Hispanic populations, and some outlying areas that are heavily Republican. The immediate suburbs are closely split. Whoever wins Hillsborough County in November is most likely the next occupant of the White House.

Battlegroundwatch: If Mitt Romney doesn’t win Florida, he probably doesn’t win the election.  And if he doesn’t win Hillsborough County, he probably doesn’t win Florida. Home of the Republican Convention and probably more campaign attention than any in the state.  This target rich county at the base of the I-4 corridor, this county is as closely contested as any in the country.  Of the 1.95 million votes cast in presidential elections since 1992, Republican nominees won only about 14,000 more than Democratic nominees. The outcome in the Tampa Bay market has run within 2 percentage points of the statewide result in every presidential election since 1992.

Electoral Vote Prediction: What Will Happen Tomorrow?

About one week after this blog began its 5+ month odyssey (when I still could not walk and ate pain killers like they were candy) I wrote: “If the poll shows the Democrat with a slight lead, it’s tied.  If the poll shows the race tied, the Republican is winning.  And if the poll shows the Republican winning? well then the race is over.”

Sadly I thought by this point Romney would be up a point or two in the polls and could confidently predict a 330 electoral vote win. But Hurricane Sandy changed the dynamic of the race.  President Obama was “Presidential” for once and appeared in a bi-partisan light with a great assist from Chris Christie. Had his first term been more bi-partisan like he showed during the Hurricane he would have a far better shot at re-election. But his recent political deathbed conversion runs contrary to what this country has lived through over the last four years.  The most divisive President since the disgraced Richard Nixon can give a good speech and wears the genial veneer of a uniter, but his four-year record of division has left the country worse off from his choices.

You can’t swing a dead cat today without hitting a national poll showing the race a dead heat between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. But the polling today and political commentary reminds me so much of two mid-term elections: 1994 and 2010 — admittedly non-Presidential years.  The press consensus was a “status quo” election in 1994 while they mocked firebrands who were talking about a revolution. The result was historic drubbings in the House and Senate flipping control of both to Republicans. The same press more recently tried the same dodge in 2010 focusing on likely Republican failures Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle rather than the transformative Republicans like Kristi Noem, Tim Scott, Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio. The arrogant Obama consoled Democrats ahead of this mid-term saying the difference between 1994 and 2010 was that this time they had him. Of course Republicans famously delivered a “shellacking” at the voting booth.  My favorite gawd-awful pollster, Marist, had the Congressional race dead even ahead of the greatest drubbing ever. As the Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone wrote “you could argue that this is the best Republican showing ever.” Rather odd they seem to always underestimate Republican performance, don’t you think?

Today the press write 50 stories on Missouri’s Todd Akin and barely acknowledge Nebraska’s Deb Fischer.  If Fischer were a Democrat, the upstart Senator-in-waiting would be paraded around Sunday talk-shows like Cleopatra but you see nary a passing mention of Fischer taking down the formidable Bob Kerrey.  The Tea Party of 2010 was misrepresented, relentlessly smeared with false accusations of racist behavior and ultimately dismissed by the press until they kicked the door in. Instead of trying to coalesce into a national movement  they retrenched locally and have been planting the political mustard seeds in Battleground districts across this country.  You already see the fruits of their labors in the great voter registration changes and early voting of low-propensity Republicans. They don’t talk big or preen for the cameras, they just go about their business changing the entire dynamic of American politics. Today’s polls capture none of this and represent an electorate much the same as the dynamic 2008 Democrat wave when there is no evidence to support such enthusiasm or turnout.

Democrats still have to explain away Obama and his plan for the future because he has yet to offer one. The national polls say despite his poor first term record and lack of a second term agenda he is tied nationally but more importantly leading among the Battleground State polls. But as Bob Krumm writes: “The last two times that a Republican challenged a Democratic incumbent (1996 and 1980) the polls overestimated Democratic support by 5.1 and 7.2 points.  And ‘96 was not even in bad economic times.”  (h/t @JohnEkdahl). Add to that the majority of this blog relentlessly focused on breaking down state poll internals demonstrating time and again those same polls were over-representing Democrat voters and misrepresenting the various state electorates. When you combine these two, the reality is that yes, the polls are wrong and this is not a new phenomenon. The major difference in this election is the sheer volume and relentless use of these polls as political advocacy for a preferred candidate.

In those same polls Mitt Romney has consistently led by double digits among Independent voters while locking down Republican partisans. But Independents are not always the greatest indicator in Presidential elections. John Kerry won Independents nationally by ~1% and by double digits in Ohio ~19 points and still lost the election by 3 points. and Ohio by 2-points.  It is this statistic Democrats cling to while Republicans, including myself, scoff at tied polls with Romney leading with Independents by 20-points. George Bush overcame that Independent deficit because he had a historic turnout of Republicans that had never been seen before. Barack Obama also achieved a historic partisan advantage for modern elections in the 2008 turnout but also carried Independents by 8-points and won overall by 7-points. In 2012 his entire re-election is staked on achieving this again but under far less advantageous circumstances. The greatest difference between 2004 and 2012 is George Bush had a passionate following on the most prominent issue of the day–national security–while today Obama is at his weakest on the most prominent issue of the day–the economy–with passion inspired only in the cult of Obama. This is why Obama is so consistently capped at 47 or 48% in nearly every poll. His impassioned followers won’t abandon him but he attracts few others.

This means the only way Obama wins is a turnout superior to his historic 2008 election when his greatest assets, insurmountable early voting leads and enthusiasm unparalleled in American history, are absent. Maybe he’ll pull it off, but the evidence says he will not. Mitt Romney has run a competent campaign and caught fire in the first debate when President Obama’s lack of vision stood in stark contrast to the energized and vibrant Romney. Since that juncture the enthusiasm, initiative and momentum have all been on one side of the contest.  Today the Romney ground game does no worse than match the vaunted Obama ground game with evidence that Team Obama is desperately robbing Peter (cannibalizing election day high propensity voters) to pay Paul (boost weak early voting).

If political directors at ABC, NBC and CBS were told 6-months ago President Obama’s final days would be spent defending Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin (to crowds far smaller than even John Kerry) while Romney is drawing 30k in Philadelphia suburbs in near unanimity they would conclude Obama is losing the race. Today states like Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania show up in political discussions the way Indiana and North Carolina were in 2008. It doesn’t take much more to know which way the wind is blowing. The Obama campaign’s ground game is a strong operation and plenty of states will be won by less than 1% of the vote, much like 2000 and 2004 so his ability to pull of an election night surprise should not be underestimated. But too many fundamental problems exist for Obama: stubbornly awful economy, eroding trust on foreign policy, formidable opponent, enthusiastic opposition and potentially fatal concerns with the turnout of key demographics (Hispanics and youth) for him to likely win tomorrow.

All of this adds up to the following states falling into Romney’s column: Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. The only rain on Romney’s parade is his inability to carry his “home state” of Michigan but it will be close. The billions in tax-payer losses on the auto bailout at least bought Obama something.

Final electoral prediction, Romney 331, Obama 207. I guess the fundamentals of the race overwhelmed even Hurricane Sandy.


Special thanks to Matt Margolis at Blogs4Victory for the map.

Battleground Counties: Pennsylvania Edition

Bucks County native, the guy who called the Paul Ryan VP pick and alum of the right University, Robert Costa uses tonight’s massive Romney Rally in Pennsylvania to drop some knowledge on one of our favorite topics: Battleground Counties — specifically Pennsylvania Battleground Counties.

Mitt Romney is poised to win Pennsylvania — if he can stay competitive in the moderate suburbs and put up large numbers in Pennsylvania’s conservative pockets. “If he runs up big margins in the central and western parts of the state, and holds his own in the Philadelphia suburbs, he can win it, even if he gets his butt beat in Philadelphia,” says former Republican senator Rick Santorum. “Even then, he’ll need a little magic.” … It won’t be easy. “Republicans have been here before,” says G. Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin and Marshall College. “In 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush got to within three or four points in the last week, and ended up losing both times. They know how to get to the red zone, but they haven’t figure out how to get into the end zone.” Four years ago, John McCain lost every county in suburban Philadelphia…Winning Pennsylvania is complicated. In a way, it’s a microcosm of America. It has big, deep-blue cities, sprawling, deep-red rural counties, and highly populated suburbs. It has a pro-life Democratic senator (Bob Casey), but five times elected a pro-choice Republican (Arlen Specter) to the upper chamber. It counts a Democratic grandee (Ed Rendell) as a former governor, and Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president, as a senator…For Romney to win, five key counties need to either shift toward Romney or see depressed Democratic turnout. And most important, these shifts need to happen in a synchronized fashion. For example, even if Romney does better than McCain in the suburbs, he needs turnout among Philadelphia Democrats to be average and Republican turnout in western Pennsylvania to be heavy.

Bucks County 

2008 result: Obama +9
2004 result: Kerry +3

Bucks County is a tale of two suburbs. In upper Bucks, there are thousands of stucco-and-brick mansions that are home to well educated, socially liberal professionals… In lower Bucks, you have thousands of Levittown homes…The people here are blue-collar Democrats. Many of them had union jobs at Fairless Works, a U.S. Steel mill, until it closed, and now work in non-industrial sectors. Together, these two suburban areas and their 600,000 residents form a capricious political powerhouse…To win Bucks, you need to win the hearts of the Reagan Democrats and the fickle soccer moms who live in the palaces on former farmland…As a reserved, Harvard-trained businessman, Romney appeals temperamentally to upper-Bucks Republicans, and his economic-focused campaign appeals to Levittown’s many out-of-work residents.

Philadelphia County

2008 result: Obama +67
2004 result: Kerry +60

In 2008, Obama garnered 30,000 more votes in Philadelphia than Kerry did, giving him more than half-a-million votes in a single county. That was about one-sixth of Obama’s statewide total — and his approximate margin of victory. In the rest of the state, Obama and McCain more or less tied, but McCain ended up losing by about 600,000 votes. McCain’s effective tie in 66 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties wasn’t enough, and Romney’s campaign knows that it has to come out well ahead in the rest of the state in order to eke out a victory once the Philadelphia returns are tallied. You can be sure that Obama adviser David Axelrod is counting on Philadelphia’s old-fashioned Democratic and public-union machine, which is managed by Representative Bob Brady, to show up.

Luzerne County

2008 result: Obama +8
2004 result: Kerry +3

Luzerne County is in the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area in northeastern Pennsylvania…the county is trending Republican. Senator Toomey nearly won Luzerne County two years ago, coming within a thousand votes of victory in a county that Obama carried by eight points. According to local election officials, Democrats still outnumber Republicans in registration by a hefty margin, but Republican and independent registrations have jumped markedly since Obama’s 2008 campaign…The Romney campaign has a bustling campaign office in Luzerne. Their goal is to repeat Toomey’s 2010 model, which means a near-constant focus on the economy with a bipartisan message…These voters are looking for an economic alternative, and they’re unhappy with Washington. Two years ago, Republican Lou Barletta, a vocal critic of illegal immigration, won the area’s congressional seat [ousting powerful 13-term incumbent Paul Kanjorski by nearly 10-points].

Cambria County

2008 result: Obama +1
2004 result: Bush +2

Cambria County is east of Pittsburgh, and it includes Johnstown, a Democratic city that was the late John Murtha’s political base for decades, as well as Republican-leaning suburbs closer to Pittsburgh…Cambria County is full of families who grew up with fathers who worked in coal mines and steel mills, and many of the best jobs in the county remain in the energy sector. Expect Obama to pay a price for his regulations…Senator Toomey carried Cambria two years ago, and Republican Keith Rothfus, who narrowly lost his House race in 2010, is running strong against the county’s incumbent congressman, Democrat Mark Critz, a former Murtha staffer. Romney should also be helped by U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith, a former coal executive from the region who is running countless TV ads about Obama’s “war on coal.”

Lancaster County

2008 result: McCain +12
2004 result: Bush +32

Lancaster County and neighboring York County make up the base of the Pennsylvania GOP. Running up solid totals here gives you some breathing room, especially if Philadelphia’s suburbs don’t turn completely red and the turnout in the western counties is less than expected. … Politically, Pennsylvania Dutch Country is often overlooked, but it is more populated than people think, with over 500,000 residents, and turnout here can change the entire dynamic of a Republican’s statewide effort…But Romney’s late entry into Pennsylvania makes turnout in Lancaster harder to predict…Looking to win the state, Romney must hope that local conservatives don’t mind his absence.

 

30,000 at Romney Rally in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

I’ll use this post to update as pictures and info comes across:

This was the line to get in a couple hours ago and then in a photo by Kevin Sheridan, the nighttime swarm:

Now below are photos from earlier that I would have gotten to if not for so many computer problems today. Check out our on-the-scene reporter jackgdovin’s flickr page for these awesome shots of the line to get in:

Obama +3 in Pennsylvania — Muhlenburg/Morning Call

Pennsylvania just gets more and more interesting. Are we going to have multiple election night surprises? The Muhlenburg/Morning Call poll of the Keystone State shows President Obama clinging (bitterly?) to a 3-point lead 49 to 46 with only 3% Undecided (Question 11). Without pushing Undecideds, Obama holds a 2-point lead, 48 to 46, 2% are voting third-party and 5% remain Undecided (Question 10). This begs the question on motivation and who among these late Undecideds ultimately shows up at the polls potentially swaying the outcome.

The Party ID is D +4 (Dem 46, Rep 42, Ind 11). In 2008 party ID was D +7 (Dem 44, Rep 37, Ind 18) while in 2004 it was D +2 (Dem 41, Rep 39, Ind 20). The poll might be a little light on Independents but otherwise one of the more fair party splits in Pennsylvania this entire cycle. Romney leads by 5-points among Independents 48 to 43. As we pointed out earlier, George Bush barely lost Pennsylvania in 2004 while losing Independents by 17-points (58 to 41). Tuesday is going to be very interesting around these parts.

On issues Romney leads on the economy and deficit while Obama holds a similar margin on handling medicare. Gender Gap: Men favor Romney +4, Women favor Obama +8. Racial demographics are interesting with a bump up in whites compared to 2008 — a return of the missing white vote? Otherwise this poll demographically is generous to Romney. Demographics: Whites support Romney 52 to 43, Non-Whites support Obama 79 to 19

For President Percent
Barack Obama 49
Mitt Romney 46
Other 2
Undecided 3

Romney Rally in Yardly, Pennsylvania Today (Nov 4) 5pm

Massive rally for Mitt Romney in Bucks County, Pennsylvania scheduled later today. The crowd is going to be huge so get there hours early because you won’t want to miss this rally!

You’re Invited to a Victory Event with Mitt Romney & the Republican Team! with The Marshall Tucker Band!

When: Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Doors Open 2:00 PM | Event Begins 5:00 PM

Where: Shady Brook Farm, 931 Stony Hill Road in Morrisville, PA 19067

To register for the event, click here.

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

For questions, contact us at: TeamPA@mittromney.com | (717) 746-8098
For Important Campaign Updates: Text (PA) to GOMITT (466488)

Monroe County, Pennsylvania Tied at 42 (Obama Won by 17 in 2008)

Hat-tip to reader Zang for the heads -up.

I’ll cut the small town paper some slack for running a registered voter poll since the survey area was so limited. Between the major parties, only 68k people voted in Monroe County in 2008. It’s neighbor slightly South, Bucks County, cast 329k votes in 2008.  But this type of poll result speaks volumes to the change in sentiment and the golden opportunity for Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania. As John Ekdahl of the Breitbart team regularly points out George Bush barely lost Pennsylvania in 2004 while losing Independents by 17-points (58 to 41).  Mitt Romney is leading with Independents in Pennsylvania today so there are plenty voter shifts in preference to be hopeful. Maybe that’s why 20,000 people are expected to rally for Romney in Bucks County later today?  We shall see.

Among Monroe County voters, the race for president is statistically a dead heat, an exclusive East Stroudsburg University/Pocono Record poll reveals. In a poll of 490 registered voters, 42.2 percent said they support President Barack Obama and 42 percent said they support Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The poll’s margin of error was +/-4.4 points.

  • Economy: Respondents overwhelmingly cited the economy as the biggest issue in the race. Presented with a list of eight topics and asked to rank the most important, the economy was No. 1 for 83 percent of respondents. Pocono voters who cited the economy as most important supported Romney by about 5 points over Obama.
  • Independents and Undecided: Among independents, Romney led Obama 41 to 34 percent. However, nearly 21 percent of independents polled in Monroe County said they were undecided “again showing how close the race is and how easily it could turn either way,” McGlynn noted. Young people had the highest rate of being undecided. Among those in the 18-to-24 bracket, 34.4 percent were undecided. And among those in this age group who made a selection, Romney was favored 42.3 percent to 17.9 percent for Obama. [note the youth sample was rather small so inferences lack some weight]
  • Gender Gap: Romney led among men by 7.5 percent, Obama’s lead among women was 4.3 percent. Analysts said the Romney lead among men is offset by a slightly larger population of women in the county.
  • Seniors: Middle-aged and senior voters were the most set in their candidate choices. Overall, those 65 and older slightly favored Romney, while those 25 to 64 slightly favored Obama.
  • Base support: Almost 80 percent of those identifying themselves as Democrats and 75 percent of Republicans said they were voting for their respective party candidates.
  • Poll shortcomings: Respondents skewed heavily older, female and white. Also, pollsters relied on calling land lines randomly selected from published telephone numbers. [when you’re polling a rural county, this is what you deal with]
  • Chris Christie Effect: “Since this poll was conducted, President Obama has received high marks for his response to Hurricane Sandy and demonstrated some bipartisanship with his collaboration with Gov. Chris Christie on recovery efforts in New Jersey. This could sway some undecideds in the president’s favor,” wrote ESU political science professor Adam McGlynn.

All Tied Up 47 to 47 in Pennsylvania — Susquehanna Polling & Research

Things sure are interesting in Pennsylvania.  The latest Tribune-Review poll run by Susquehanna Polling has the race tied at 47 a piece.  The candidates are equal in favorability at 48% but Obama’s Unfavorables are higher than Romney’s at 47% versus Romney at 44%.  Right track/wrong track is 38%/56% withe the economy, taxes, spending and the deficit the paramount issues with 71% of voters:

President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney entered the final days of the presidential race tied in a state that the campaigns only recently began contesting, a Tribune-Review poll shows. The poll showed the race for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes locked up at 47 percent in its final week. Romney was scheduled to campaign in the Philadelphia area on Sunday, and former President Bill Clinton planned to stump for Obama on Monday. The campaigns have begun to saturate the airwaves with millions of dollars in presidential advertising.

“They’re both in here because of exactly what you’re seeing” in this poll, said Jim Lee, president of Susquehanna Polling & Research, which surveyed 800 likely voters Oct. 29-31. Most of the interviews occurred after Hurricane Sandy inundated Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. The poll’s error margin is 3.46 percentage points. Nearly 60 percent of people say the country is on the wrong track, and economic concerns continue to dominate. Almost half of likely voters say economic issues are the primary driver of their choice for president.

Enthusiasm

Report from the Ryan Rally in Pennsylvania:

And for the report from Obama’s Ohio rally:

Crowd shot from the Ryan Rally:

Is Obama Nervous About Pennsylvania?

You betcha!

And from our official campaign stop tracker No Tribe: “On Monday November 5, President Clinton will campaign in Pittsburgh and Scranton as well as hold two events in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

This is OFA’s top surrogate. Four stops in Pennsylvania the day before the election.

Any questions who’s winning?

Romney Rally in Bucks County, Pennsylvania Sunday (Nov 4) 5:30pm

Hat-tip to No Tribe for the alert. Mitt Romney is rallying the troops in the Philadelphia suburb of Morrisville, Pennsylvania on Sunday looking to paint that state red!

You’re Invited to a Victory Event with Mitt Romney & the Republican Team!

When: Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Doors Open 2:30 PM | Event Begins 5:30 PM

Where: Shady Brook Farm, 931 Stony Hill Road in Morrisville, PA 19067

To register for the event, click here.

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

For questions, contact us at: TeamPA@mittromney.com | (717) 746-8098
For Important Campaign Updates: Text (PA) to GOMITT (466488)

Pennsylvania in Play Update

The pieces to the puzzle keep coming together for a Keystone State turn on November 6:

UPDATE: The rally is expected in the Philadelphia suburbs — no BS spin this is really for eastern Ohio.  Also robo-calls in Philly suburbs with an anti-Obamacare message happening.

The next Vice President Paul Ryan is stumping in Middletown, Pennsylvaia on Saturday (Harrisburg Airport)

Sources on the ground in the Philadelphia suburbs are getting robo-calls from Fred Thompson on behalf of Romney-Ryan

Pennsylvania ranks 4th nationwide in ad spending this week between the 2 camps is $13.7 million: Team Romney $10.8mm versus Team Obama $2.9mm

Romney-Ryan Billboards are on the New Jersey Turnpike in the Philadelphia suburbs

Release the Kraken: Romney campaign to hit the road with 100 surrogates

There are only 6 days left to campaign and following the Hurricane Sandy pause Team Romney is gearing up for a final push to close out the cycle that would dwarf any prior campaign’s effort.  According to CNN, Team Romney will hit 11-states with all-stars from the GOP’s deep bench, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin:

Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, will kick off a four-day tour starting Friday, where they’ll be joined by their wives and 100 surrogates in the final days of the White House race, his campaign announced Wednesday.

The tour starts off with a rally in West Chester, Ohio, the hometown of House Speaker John Boehner. Aside from Boehner, featured guests that day include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Boehner will depart on his own bus tour in Ohio from Saturday to Monday.

In the four days before Election Day, the surrogates will fan out across eleven battleground states: Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A campaign source confirmed that Romney will be at the Verizon Center in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday night, and Kid Rock will perform, as well.

On Wednesday, Romney and Ryan resume the campaign trail after canceling some events due to conditions related to Superstorm Sandy. Romney will travel to Florida for three campaign events, where he’ll appear with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack. Ryan, meanwhile, will make stops in Wisconsin.

Franklin & Marshall Wastes Your Time With a Registered Voter Poll

It is one freaking week before the election, why is Franklin & Marshall releasing a poll where they have the likely voter data, but only provide breakdowns of the registered voter segment? WASTE. OF. TIME.

Obama leads +4 in Pennsylvania and Romney leads +16 with Independents. That’s about all you need to know. Everything else wastes your time so I stopped breaking down the poll after Independents. Hooray for Franklin & Marshall!

Franklin & Marshall have regularly polled the Pennsylvania Presidential contests and always with interesting results. President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 4-points among likely voters, 49 to 45. There are a few odd numbers within this result though. First President Obama has a 4-point lead among registered voters as well as likely voters which seems a little since Democrats polls as much as 4-points above the typical like likely voter result. Additionally, the likely voter screen was extremely strict shaving off 36% of the registered voters. This would normally bode well for Republicans yet there was no change in the result.

Independents

Mitt Romney leads by 16-points among Independents, 48 to 32. Curiously although both sides lock down their bases Mitt Romney trails overall by 4 despite that enormous margin with Independents.

How serious is Romney in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan?

Mark Murray of NBC has the ad spending numbers from the Romney campaign and his SuperPAC supporters:

Plenty of this money is the SuperPAC moreso than the actual Romney campaign, but the point stands that in these outer Battlegrounds Team Romney is committing serious dollars at a 3:1 pace over Obama.

Crushed By Your Policies — New Romney Ad in Pennsylvania

Mark Halperin: Obama Campaign Worried About Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania In Play — Romney Ads Going State-wide

Thanks to “Tone Loc” for the tip, Romney ads going state-wide:

Mitt Romney is launching a statewide advertising campaign in Pennsylvania. The Republican presidential candidate is making a final-week bid to defeat President Barack Obama in territory long considered safe for Democrats. No Republican presidential candidate has carried the state in nearly a quarter century. Recent polls suggest the race there is close.

Republican officials with knowledge of the plan report that Romney’s campaign will begin running ads statewide as soon as Wednesday. The buy includes the expensive Philadelphia broadcast market, where Romney’s campaign was reluctant to invest earlier in the month. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss campaign strategy.

Lightning Crashes: ABC News Moves Pensylvania, Minnesota from ‘Safe’ to ‘Lean’ Obama

I can feel it coming back again, like a rolling thunder chasing the wind:

With one week to go, states that were once considered Obama strongholds now look less solid. Republican groups are putting resources into Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Team Obama brushes off these incursions as wishful thinking by Republicans, but noticeably they are putting money and muscle into both states. Minnesota has been added to Bill Clinton’s schedule. And, Obama campaign officials admitted that they will once again start running ads in Pennsylvania.

So, what is happening in Minnesota? Demographics. As our ABC/Washington Post poll has shown, Romney has a substantial lead among white men. Minnesota is one of the least diverse states in the country with 90 percent of the electorate in 2008 made of white voters. In other Midwestern states with small minority populations, like Iowa and Wisconsin, the Obama campaign has flooded the airwaves for months with anti-Romney ads. They have done nothing of the sort in Minnesota.

Moreover, the airwaves in states like Ohio and Virginia are already heavily saturated. The ground game is the name of the game now in those places. That means that SuperPAC’s with lots of money can get a better return on their investment  on the airwaves in places like Pennsylvania and Minnesota than in the  eight battleground states where the campaigns have been most heavily engaged.

Romney Campaign Aids Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Here are more details on the Romney campaign using its resources to assist states with relief efforts from the hurricane:

With eight days remaining until Election Day and a major storm slamming the East Coast, Romney is putting some of his resources onto preparation and relief efforts. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, canceled Monday and Tuesday campaign events and returned to the White House to monitor the storm and federal government response…The campaign is loading supplies into a campaign bus for delivery in Virginia. In Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania – all battleground states in the presidential campaign and all expected to be impacted by this storm – Team Romney is collecting supplies at their campaign offices for local relief efforts.

Here is a link to the Romney campaign offices in Virginia where relief supplies can be donated.  At the bottom there is a button to see additional Virginia offices near you.

Restore Our Future (Pro-Romney) Launching Pennsylvania Ad Campaign

This is the SuperPAC of ex-Romney staffers so they’d be as close to reflecting Romney campaign sentiments as any organizations and they are clearly seeing something in the Keystone State:

Mitt Romney’s super PAC, Restore our Future, is launching an 11th-hour ad blitz in Pennsylvania, POLITICO has learned. ROF is going up Tuesday with a $2.1 million ad buy across every Pennsylvania market, including pricey Philadelphia. The group will air a spot, “New Normal,” that lashes President Obama on the economy and is already up in other parts of the country.

The late push for Pennsylvania comes as some internal GOP polling has shown the always-elusive Keystone State to be within a few points. But other public polling, including a survey released over the weekend by the Philadelphia Inquirer, shows Obama enjoying a lead outside the margin.  Romney’s campaign is not airing ads in Pennsylvania and the candidate himself has not been to the state recently.  Paul Ryan recently held a rally at a hangar outside Pittsburgh, but that was partly intended for Ohio consumption. But with Romney closing the gap nationally with Obama, money has been flooding into the GOP super PACs. The conservative group Americans for Job Security went up with a TV buy in Philadelphia over the weekend. So groups like ROF have a bit more of a luxury to try to broaden the political map.

Pennsylvania Catholics Micro-Targeted

More and more ground troops are flowing into Pennsylvania and outside groups are pitching in to flip the state red. Regular readers of this blog know I don’t delve into the social side of politics much, if ever, but Obama’s HHS mandate infringing on religious liberty was a fairly offensive act. Quite honestly I didn’t believe the critics when I first heard what they claimed Obama was doing. The tactical side of my brain said he can’t be that dumb or arrogant to pick such an outrageous fight with the Catholic Church and other religious institutions. Boy was I wrong. And his culture wars convention and campaign ads have doubled down on his lies of what he is trying to do as well as the complaints of his opposition. His campaign may think they needed to stoke the fires of his base but I sense he will disaffect more fence-sitters than he will inspire on his own side which can be the difference in some tight states.

According to Politico’s Morning score:

Convinced Pennsylvania is winnable for Romney, the conservative Catholic Association is digging into reserve funds and launching an effort to contact 584,000 Catholic voters ID’d in Pennsylvania as undecided or soft Obama/soft Romney. They have phone numbers for all of them and email addresses for about half. They will be phoned four times and emailed at least six times between now and next Tuesday. The theme for all avenues of communication in the Keystone State: ‘Obama has gone too far. Even Mother Teresa’s charity fails his religious test.’ Here’s the postcard that’s going out:

Here is an excerpted version of the back so you can (hopefully) read the text:

 

Romney Using Campaign Resources for Storm Relief Efforts

This isn’t new for Team Romney, back in July:

As more becomes clear on the storm’s impact, I expect more Romney campaign resources to be used similarly. News will be similarly sparse on these efforts so if you see something shoot it my way.

Who Says Pennsylvania is in Play? The Obama Campaign

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
Other
Undecided 7

Obama +5 in Pennsylvania — Rasmussen

Rasmussen Reports checks in on Pennsylvania and sees President Obama with some daylight but by no means out of reach.  The President has a 5-point lead, 51 to 46:

President Obama still earns over 50% of the vote in Pennsylvania. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Pennsylvania Voters shows the president with 51% of the vote to Romney’s 46%. One percent (1%) likes another candidate, and two percent (2%) remain undecided. This Pennsylvania survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted on October 24, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 51
Mitt Romney 46
Other 1
Undecided 2

Michael Barone Sees a Suburban Swing Towards Romney

Michael Barone has his usual smart take on the election with a great little nugget for why Romney is closing strong in Pennsylvania and Michigan but isn’t seeing the comparable moves in Ohio:

Barack Obama’s campaign spent huge sums on anti-Romney ads to create a firewall in three states that the president won narrowly in 2008 — Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. But post-debate polling shows Romney ahead in Florida and tied in Virginia. National Journal’s Major Garrett reported last week that Obama strategist David Plouffe omitted Florida and Virginia in a list of key states but mentioned Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Obama carried the latter three by ten, ten, and twelve points respectively in 2008. So much for the firewall. In addition, polling shows Romney ahead in Colorado, which Obama carried by nine points last time, and the race closing in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, which Obama carried by 14, 10, and 16 points respectively.

That tends to validate my alternative scenario that Mitt Romney would fare much better in affluent suburbs than have the previous Republican nominees since 1992, and would run more like George Bush did in 1988. The only way Pennsylvania and Michigan can be close is if Obama’s support in affluent Philadelphia and Detroit suburbs has melted away. This also helps explain why Romney still narrowly trails in Ohio polls. Affluent suburban counties cast about one-quarter of the votes in Pennsylvania and Michigan but only one-eighth in Ohio.

A pro-Romney swing among the affluent is confirmed by the internals of some national polls. The 2008 exit poll showed Obama narrowly carrying voters with incomes over $75,000. Post-debate Pew Research and Battleground polls have shown affluent suburbanite Romney carrying them by statistically significant margins. In particular, college-educated women seem to have swung toward Romney since October 3. He surely had them in mind in the foreign-policy debate when he kept emphasizing his hopes for peace and pledged no more wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.