A Second Look at Pennsylvania

What’s up in Pennsylvania?  I have noted in previous posts that I don’t see much chance that McCain can win Pennsylvania, a state that went blue for Kerry in 2004, and which has generally voted Democratic in recent elections.  And yet McCain and Palin have spent more time in this state than almost any other in the last two weeks. What explains this decision?  My best guess is that it reflects three factors:

  1. The undecideds in Pennsylvania mirror those in the national survey by Pew: more religious, less educated, less affluent and thus more likely to vote for McCain.
  2. Internal polling in McCain’s camp shows that polls are overestimating support for Obama, and that existing support for him is “soft.”
  3. McCain simply doesn’t have many alternatives for reaching the magic 270 mark, given the likelihood that he will lose Virginia, Iowa and New Mexico – all states won by Bush in 2004.

So, is the extensive campaigning by McCain and Palin having an effect?

Yes it is.  Based on RCP’s average of polls, McCain has sliced 4% off Obama’s lead in the last two weeks. The problem, however, is that McCain remains behind by more than 9%  – an almost overwhelming deficit with a week left in the campaign.  Either he knows something that the rest of us don’t, or he sees no other route to getting an Electoral College majority.  If McCain’s campaign is going to pull the upset, it will likely require a huge turnaround in the Keystone State.


  1. Found an interesting article thru RCP on Monday and was wondering what you thought of it: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/10/27/undecideds/

    General idea is that the new Bradley effect is that “undecided” is the way in which voters refusing to vote for the black candidate avoid looking racist. Looking at last-minute polls and final election results of 6 congressional in 2006 showed that 80%+ of undecides actually break for white candidate.

    And given the number of undecideds in battleground states, this could easily lose the electoral college…

    Hype or legit idea?

  2. oops, hadn’t read “analyzing the undecideds” yet when I sent comment. I guess to some degree you agree although maybe not enough for it to make a difference in the final outcome?

  3. Ed Rendel is not taking Penn. as a slam dunk either. Maybe he knows the same thing that McCain knows and we dont.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *