The exit poll from Pennsylvania four years ago showed turnout of 44D/37R/18I. The sample for today’s new poll showing O out to a double-digit lead is … 50D/37R/10I. Anyone think that three years of watching Hopenchange in action is actually going to turn more Democrats out this year than last time? Me neither.
But for the record:
Two caveats to that. One: The poll was conducted from May 29 through June 4, which means that it includes only a few days of fallout from Friday’s terrible jobs report. Two: If you’re thinking that the growth in Obama’s lead from February to June can be explained by this month’s bad sample, think again. The February sample was even more lopsided — 51D/37R/10I. The topline numbers may be off but there’s reason to think things are trending O’s way there.
But why? Could be that wavering Democrats in Pennsylvania are finally gearing up for the big campaign and landing back in Obama’s column. But this might have something to do with it too. O’s overall job approval rating in the state:
He’s down sharply in the “poor” column and up a total of five points combined in “excellent” or “good.” Now, his job approval rating on the economy specifically:
Again, down sharply in “poor” and up sharply in “good,” despite a string of unimpressive jobs reports and then a disastrous one just last Friday. It’s true that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is below the national average and has been trending slightly downward since February, but is that enough to sustain him when economic analysts are starting to scream about a new recession? Hmmm. Maybe Politico was right when it found a silver lining for The One in the fact that some key swing states are faring better economically these days than you might expect.
At the beginning of May, the state’s own GOP chairman, Rob Gleason, said Romney told him personally that he doubted he could win the state. Gleason didn’t appear to disagree vehemently.
“I don’t think anyone thinks we can carry Pennsylvania, I don’t think even Romney thinks we can win Pennsylvania,” he told The Allentown Morning Call…
Understanding why the GOP candidate might be skeptical about Pennsylvania isn’t difficult. A Republican presidential nominee hasn’t triumphed there since George H.W. Bush in 1988, and, as mentioned, Obama won easily there four years ago despite a heavy investment of time and money from the McCain campaign. The state has more than a million more registered Democrats than Republicans, and an early May poll from Quinnipiac University found the president leading over Romney 47 percent to 39 percent.
On the other hand:
Romney will compete heavily in Pennsylvania, [top Romney advisor David] James said. The campaign started slowly because of the state’s late primary, he said, but “June is our big growth month.”
Andrew Reilly, chairman of the Delaware County GOP, acknowledged the Democrats’ statewide voter registration advantage. But he said Romney is the first Republican presidential candidate in 20 years who fits well with the area’s GOP electorate.
“Pennsylvania is a challenge,” Reilly said. “I think Romney’s got a shot.”
I think he’ll probably decide late, in mid-September or so, on whether to take a shot at it. He doesn’t need Pennsylvania to get to 270 but The One probably does, so if Romney and conservative Super PACs build up a financial advantage, that might be one place where they spend a bit to try to draw O’s team into playing defense there and spending money of their own. Exit question: What are we to make of the trend here?