Pennsylvania is about to have its 15 minutes in the national spotlight in the presidential campaign. In the weekend before the Nov. 6 election, the Romney campaign has
turned its attention to the state. The
candidate will be in
After months of neglecting
His campaign's explanation is that they see
Polls show the race tightening here. The two latest public polls, which were released this week, show Obama up by seven points (Inquirer poll) or by four points (Franklin & Marshall poll). That's a slip from the same polls last month.
I don't see
In the nine states that have been considered swing states since the summer, Obama now holds the lead -- albeit a slight lead -- in eight of them, according to the latest polls.
For the record, those state are:
Romney cannot lose these states and still win the election. In fact, an Obama win in
With the potential of losses in these key states,
Forgive the analogy, but this reminds me of the Civil War, circa 1863. As Gen. Robert E. Lee surveyed the scene, he saw that the Confederates had lost the western front and were losing the South. He decided to counter with a bold offensive move into the heart of the North. Into
His goal was to scare the bejabbers out of Northerners who, in turn, might elect a peace candidate in the 1864 presidential election who would be willing to negotiate an end to the war. Lee did accomplish goal one. His defeat at
Political campaigns are like hexahedral crystals that cast differing light depending on how you approach them.
Seen from one angle (the side Romney is pushing) the Republican candidate is in the middle of a surge that began after the first debate and is going to peak on Election Day and carry him to victory. Under this scenario,
Seen from another angle (the side the Obama camp prefers), Romney tried his best to dislodge Obama as the leader in many states, and he fell short. Obama is holding onto leads in these key states; the election is clearly tilting his way. Romney's move into
For a look at some of the broader trends that favor Obama and the Democrats in the state, see our recent Backgrounder on voting trends in Pennsylvania.
What factors could change this equation for Gen. Pickett -- excuse me -- Gov. Romney?
Well, it's a good thing for Obama that the voter ID law is not in place. When it originally passed, I thought the new law would cost Obama about three points -- roughly 180,000 votes. When he had a nine-point lead he could afford those points. Today, he needs them.
Now, there is the
These troubles make voting seem much less important to these voters and could depress turnout. Will it be enough for Romney to make up his four- to seven-point deficit? I think not. Deeply Democratic Philadelphia escaped the worst of the storm. In the suburbs, it's a different story, but the rain fell on Democrats and Republicans alike and a slump in turnout may do equal harm to each camp.
So, how is this all going to play out on Election Day on Tuesday? That's why we hold elections -- to find out. Stayed turned for the exciting conclusion.
-- Tom Ferrick