Pennsylvania may be keystone in presidential race
By Mike Wereschagin
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, 8:36 p.m.
As former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign makes a last-minute attempt to win Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, a new poll shows the Republican nominee trailing President Obama by 4 percentage points, within the poll's margin of error.
Both campaigns generally ignored the state, which hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, for most of this year's campaign. But Romney and some political action committees supporting him bought millions of dollars in advertising this week, prompting Obama's campaign to do the same. Obama's lead in the Franklin & Marshall College poll is less than half what it was in the same poll last month.
“The economy ... remains the paramount issue. Romney made a huge gain on who can best fix the economy,” said G. Terry Madonna, the poll's director.
The poll of 547 likely voters, conducted Oct. 23-28, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. leads Republican Tom Smith by 11 percentage points, according to the poll, which is similar to his lead in the September poll. Fourteen percent of people remain undecided in the race.
Despite Smith sinking at least $17 million of his own money into his campaign, 45 percent of voters are undecided about what they think of him or don't know enough to form an opinion. One-third of voters say the same about Casey, who has held statewide elected office since 1997.
Madonna credits Romney's performance in the first presidential debate with reversing his campaign's late-summer slide by offering voters a more acceptable picture.
He trailed Obama by 4 percentage points on the question of who's best able to fix the economy in a Franklin & Marshall Poll last month, before the debates. The most recent poll shows Romney leading Obama on that issue 47 percent to 42 percent.
The percentage of people with a favorable view of Romney rose from 34 percent in the September poll to 43 percent in the most recent poll.
“That's transformative,” Madonna said.
Obama, though, continues to hold the edge here, with 50 percent of voters having a favorable view of him. He leads Romney in other areas as well, including who is most prepared to deal with foreign policy and who best understands the concerns of ordinary Americans. On the latter, the president leads 54 percent to 39 percent.
The campaigns have focused on several swing states during the past two months, with the primary focus on Ohio, where polls show the two neck-and-neck. If Romney loses Ohio, he would have to win nearly every other swing state to reach 270 electoral votes, Madonna said. Likewise, the Obama campaign counts Pennsylvania in all but one of its winning scenarios.
Romney's campaign still is likely to focus far more on Ohio, but with all the cash it raised, the campaign can afford to make a play for Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, Madonna said.
“All things being equal, it's about Ohio. But if that falls apart, maybe (Romney) can cherry-pick Pennsylvania,” Madonna said.
Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- That’s a Jeep Cherokee? No retro in 2014 model
- For Steelers defense, it’s all a matter of trust
- Jokinen takes center stage as fill-in for Pens’ Malkin
- Penguins notebook: Malkin to miss 2nd straight game Saturday
- Pitt slows down Loyola Marymount, 85-68
- Steelers notebook: Woodley expects to start Sunday vs. Dolphins
- Peduto puts on mayor hat at Harvard ‘camp’
- Fans of former conservative radio hosts Quinn, Tennent support toy drive
- Long-overdue memorial to region’s World War II vets opens
- Latrobe couple accused of using car trunk to end son’s fear of the dark
- Ex-Pirate Jones close to signing with Marlins