Trib poll shows presidential race in Pennsylvania remains too close to call
By Mike Wereschagin
Published: Saturday, November 3, 2012, 11:56 p.m.
Updated: Saturday, November 10, 2012
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.
“I'm concerned about all the young people graduating from college, whether they're finding jobs,” said Pauline Hoxie, 84, a Republican from Jersey Shore in Lycoming County. Her grandson graduated with a degree in graphic design but works a manual labor job because he can't find openings in his field, she said.
Democrats shrugged off the Romney campaign's late play for Pennsylvania, sending emails to supporters and journalists showing past Republican presidential candidates doing the same thing. Pennsylvania hasn't given its electoral votes to the Republican candidate since 1988.
The state's urban, suburban and rural voters usually give winners narrower victories than Obama's 10-point win in 2008. John Kerry won by 2.5 percentage points in 2004; Al Gore won by 4.2 in 2000.
The state is a tempting target for candidates in close races. It has two more electoral votes than the 18 up for grabs in Ohio, the focus of more campaign activity in the past few weeks than any other state.
“Some people call it fool's gold. Republicans come close but it just doesn't happen at the end of the day,” Lee said.
It could be different for the GOP this year, Lee said.
Pennsylvania's unemployment rate surpassed the national average in September after remaining below average throughout the recession. In Ohio, where both campaigns have spent far more time and money, the unemployment rate was 7 percent in September, more than a percentage point lower than Pennsylvania's 8.2 percent.
“There is no president who only deals with what happens during his four years,” said Lorraine Gregor, 61, a Democrat from McKees Rocks. “I don't care who the president would've been when Barack Obama took office; we would be talking about the same thing today.”
The national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in October, when employers added 171,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“I just don't feel that President Obama is doing the job at all. What has he accomplished?” said Roger Briggs, 67, of Monongahela. He questioned why accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohamed and Fort Hood gunman Nidal Malik Hassan haven't been tried. “They're too lenient on these Muslims, these radical Muslims. He's bending over backwards.”
Obama enjoyed wide leads in state polling during most of the race. That narrowed when Romney's image improved as a result of the October presidential debates. Susquehanna found 48 percent of voters view Romney favorably, the first time he tied Obama on that measure. A Trib poll in September found Obama with a 47 percent favorability rating, compared with Romney's 41 percent.
“We've continued to show the president failing to hit the 50-percent mark. Pennsylvanians have pretty much split their perceptions of him. Those perceptions are hardened; they don't change,” Lee said.
What changed, he said, is Romney's image among undecided voters: “Romney has given undecided a reason to vote for him.”
Romney's image suffered among some voters because of comments he made at a fundraiser that 47 percent of people see themselves as victims entitled to government handouts.
Romney has since called the remarks “completely wrong.”
“I don't believe Romney is concerned with the working class. I just don't like how we're looked at these days,” said Gregory Lutz, 64, a Democrat from Mildred in Sullivan County. Attacks that highlighted Romney's foreign bank accounts sowed more doubt, he said.
Because he's taken advantage of offshore tax benefits, “I don't trust what he says about keeping jobs in the U.S.”
Pennsylvania's sudden emergence as a state up for grabs shouldn't surprise anyone, Lee said. Even when state polls showed a wide gap in Obama's favor, the president rarely registered more than 50 percent, he said.
“I think it's always been here for the taking,” Lee said. The question, he said, is whether Romney's recent play for the state is “a day late and a dollar short.”
Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or email@example.com.
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@ronald. You lose all credibility by using the word Marxist. But I read your post anyway. Most of the jobs lost during Obama's term were lost in the first few months. Surely you're not going to hold him responsible for those. We were losing 800,000 jobs per month. Did you think that that would STOP on January 21st of 2009. Come on. Be fair and balanced if you can. As for your taxes, just thank your lucky stars you weren't in business during the Eisenhower or Reagan years when taxes were WAY higher. Anyway, Obama is going to win re-election and I wish you the best with your business. It's going to get a lot better because Obama has turned this economy around. I'm self employed and I'm already starting to see it.
Submitted by: Loupe on Sunday, November 4, 2012
<i>“There is no president who only deals with what happens during his four years,” said Lorraine Gregor, 61, a Democrat from McKees Rocks. “I don’t care who the president would’ve been when Barack Obama took office; we would be talking about the same thing today.”</i> Yeah! Especially this president which voted for all the stuff that happened and blamed on President Bush! What did Barack Hussein Obama vote for?? Four years after promising hope and change, and after a deficit-driving $787 billion stimulus program, here is the result: • 12.1 million unemployed, with an unemployment rate above 8 percent for 43 of the past 44 months. • 8.6 million working part time because they can’t find full-time work • 2.5 million who wanted to work, but have stopped looking for jobs. • In 2009, real median household income was $52,195. By 2011, it had fallen to $50,054 • In 2009, the U.S. poverty rate was 14.3 percent. By 2011, the poverty rate climbed to 15 percent. • On Obamie’s watch, 12 million more Americans joined the food-stamp program, which has reached a record of more than 46 million enrollees. • Annual federal budget deficits above $1 trillion for the past four years, increasing the national debt to an all-time high of $16 trillion. On that last point, it was kenya-born Barack Obama, who said on March 16, 2006, as he prepared to vote against raising the debt ceiling to (a mere) $9 trillion:<i> “Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”</i> Americans do deserve better, and the fact that the president now regrets his 2006 stand is another reason why he is unsuited to a second term. VOTE AMERICAN! VOTE FOR ROMNEY!
Submitted by: Daniel on Sunday, November 4, 2012
ECONOMIC REALITY CHECK There's more to the recent jobs report than meets the eye. First, although President Obama's Labor Dept. has reported an unexpected increase in jobs in October, the unemployment rate's increase to 7.9% is now higher than the 7.8% rate when he took office (NY Post, 11/3/12, p.24; Politco Pro, 11/2/12). As a result, we have the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since President Roosevelt. (AP, 11/2/12, New Lond. Day). As a senior economist stated, notwithstanding whatever else in the Administration's report, "we're still not making enough progress to bring that unemployment rate down signifcantly and rapidly." (NY Times, 11/3/12, pp. B1-B2). The unemployment rate for Blacks and Hispanics is even higher, 14.3% and 10%, respectively, both increasing somewhat since September. (NY Times, 11/3/12, p. B2) Furthermore, unemployment increased by 170,000 to 12.3 million. (Dept. Labor report (DOL rep.), Empl. Situat. Sum. Table A; AP, 11/2/12, New Lond. Day). In addition, evidently not counted as unemployed were 2.4 million persons who were "marginally attached" to the labor force, little different than a year earlier. These persons wanted and were available for work, and had searched for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed simply because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks before the Labor Dept. survey. (DOL rep., p. 2.). Moreover, the unemployment figure rises from over 12 million to 23 million when considering "those stuck in part-time jobs who would prefer to have full-time ones and those too discouraged to search for work." (Wall St. Journal, 11/3/12, p. A6). In addition, about two out of five of the unemployed have been out of work for over six months. (NY Times. 11/3/12, p. B2). Furthermore, "[o]ne of the low points in the [US DOL] report was in hourly wages, which remained flat in October after showing barely any growth in the previous several months." (NY Times. 11/3/12, p. B2). That is not all. According to the National Employment Law Project, while most jobs lost in the downturn were middle-income ones, most jobs since created had been with lower wages. (NY Times. 11/3/12, p. B2). In addition, the U.S. poverty rate has increased from 12.5% in 2008 to 15.1% in 2011-a jump of at least 20%. (NY Post 10/28/12, p. 34). There are now 44.5 million Americans on food stamps. 47% of these recipients are children, and 48.6% live in cities. (NY Post 10/28/12, p. 34). One business writer has estimated that at the current rate, "it'll take a decade to get back the 6 million jobs that we've lost since the financial crisis." (John Crudele, N.Y. Post, 11/3/12, p. 27). Added to all this, many are concerned that Congress will fail to agree on the budget before January. If they disagree, "sharp tax increases and spending cuts will take effect next year and possibly trigger another recession." (AP, 11/2/12, New Lond. Day). We need a leader who can work with different points of view to reach agreement and who can also develop economic policies to increase jobs, not just food stamps. President Obama has had his chance, but appears over his head. He appears too divisive and unable to develop consensus. Notwithstanding his speech making skills, his economic policies-includng a massive stimulus, massive deficits and costly health care mandates--have not worked. It is Romney who offers a fresh start, new leadership, executive competence, and, based on his record as Governor, the ability to bring people together. He was also steadfast and kept both his head and his cool while Obama tried to assassinate his character With his economic and leadership experience, Romney appears to have the best chance to get America moving again, and also to keep us safe.
Submitted by: ronald on Sunday, November 4, 2012
@Zaxynn Why dont you just come out and say your a Dem Liberal who plans on voting for the Marxist in Chief? You hit a good hot button when you suggested that failing schools cant teach kids to read and write... Do you know WHY??? For decades, DEMOCRATIC policies and the NEA have taken AWAY the ability for schools and students within schools to compete! The passive Pass-Fail system was instituted by Liberals who didnt want to "hurt kids feelings" or make them "feel pressure to compete" when in fact the harsh reality of the world is that if you cannot compete then you WILL NOT MAKE IT in the world... That is, you cant make it on your OWN but if you depend on BIG GOVERNMENT then you will have a reasonable life.. So you see Zaxynn, my liberal friend, THIS is why in our schools now we have curriculums that are being managed by Federal statutes because we cannot allow any one student body group be given more opportunity than any other... I own a business Zaxynn... I have been running it since 1995. To understand whats wrong with education look at this story: When I went to school I did not receive a TROPHY when I lost a school baseball tournament. We walked away sad, and dejected... And it built character and brought from us as resolve to work HARDER to win next time. This is not like today where everyone is happy happy because everyone gets at trophy for winning AND losing... Hey lets even give the losers a BIGGER trophy because we feel BAD for them. THATS the education problem in a nutshell in that metaphor about the trophy. The NEA is an evil rotten organization that simply pushes everyone to be mediocre. Just get through school. No achievers will be tolerated! So dont you talk about "partisan republicans" and expect to get away with it... And now to your clumsy attempt to use outsourcing as a problem that has received no concern. WHY are businesses outsourcing? Careful now, as I own a successful company and have weathered a lot of troubles. I KNOW the answer. YOU do not. So again, WHY are businesses outsourcing Zaxynn? Because the Liberals in charge of the Senate have worked legislation to tax businesses FAR TOO DEEPLY to manage the business on-shore. Dont like that answer? Then you dont like the truth. I ought to know. READ THIS NEXT SENTENCE CAREFULLY! I have personally watched my tax burden in my business grow as my PROFITS HAVE GONE DOWN over the last four years. I paid more for taxes in 2010 than I have EVER paid and my gross revenues in the business were at the SECOND LOWEST they have ever been!!!! So Zaxynn my liberal friend attempting to sound intelligent but who is merely pointing out his own ignorance, the question that needs to be asked is "Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?". The answer as you will see on election day, is that more people are NOT better off and have chosen a new direction from someone who can take us back to profitability. And to your last point about Cantor not wanting to work with Obama... Harry Reid, the liberal SLUG who runs the senate said last night that "I will NOT work with Mitt Romney...". So THAT evens out. And what about unemployment? When Obama took office it was 7.8%... FOUR YEARS HAVE ELAPSED where for TWO of those years he had a supermajority in the House and Senate, FULL CONTROL... NOTHING happened. Well, nothing except welfare roles increased and food stamp recipients went up 15 million. Then two more years later, unemployment went HIGHER over 8%! Now its at 7.9%... So ask yourself... What the heck did Obama do for jobs? NOTHING, NOTHING and MORE NOTHING! And a LAST point for you to consider... You know everything about Romney. You know his school records, his job experience, what his taxes were, how much he gave to charity over the years (which is WHY his tax rate was that 'horribly unfair' 14%.. easy really when you give away 60% of your salary every year!), and all his details... So knowing that Mitt is an open book there Zaxynn, where is Obamas school records? His law records? His list of accomplishments as a junior senator in Chicago? Where are his tax records? Why we cant even find a DIPLOMA FROM HIGH SCHOOL for him!!! Do you accept that the person you are choosing to lead your country has kept his past SEALED FROM PUBLIC VIEW, this, the man who is the supposed leader of the free world ? This the man to whom you entrust everything YOU have worked for? Do you NOT think its fair to ask him if he is qualified? The only thing that qualified him for the majority of Black Americans, whom he has USED for his own personal power, was his color. For most Black Americans he was nothing but a symbol that a Black man could become president and that was good enough for them. It didnt matter that this man was using them, and in fact was the WORST POSSIBLE person to represent them. He has kept his boot on their collective throats and will continue to do so. His intention is to keep Black Americans DEPENDENT on government. Is that what Republicans stand for? Hell no! Zaxynn, you need to be educated... but alas, in this Liberal NEA education establishment you are probably already too far gone...
Submitted by: Julian on Sunday, November 4, 2012
You can thank the superb leadership of President Obama over the last four years for the preeminence of the US markets and economy after the financial fiasco of the last Republican adminstration. Without the steadiness of the US as a safe haven, the global economy would have collapsed. Romney would crash the markets, economy, and the system, through tight money, ballooning deficits, higher interest rates, trade wars, deregulation of Wall Street, militarism, and every other inappropriate absurdity imaginable. Thank you President Obama, we need sanity in this time of crisis.
Submitted by: Patsy on Sunday, November 4, 2012
29 polls released yesterday and yours is the only one showing PA as a toss-up. You guys are a joke.
Submitted by: Zaxynn on Sunday, November 4, 2012
“I’m concerned about all the young people graduating from college, whether they’re finding jobs,” ---One of the standard lines from partisan Republicans Where has all the concern been for decades now??? Did we forget about the many stories about College graduates not being able to write a proper English paper.....that alone has been from the 70's to today. Were we not concerned when 800,000 jobs a month were being outsourced and good paying jobs were being replaced with minimum wage jobs??? This is what is ticking Independents off and having more and more Dems & Reps leave and go the way of Indepenent. The paragraph that talks about PA unemployment and how it was lower through the recession and now higher....really???....one could easily play partisan politics on that and say what changed in PA....a Republican Govenor now..(I'm not a fan of Rendell so). The republican Govenor that is working hard behind the scenes to cover himself for Sandusky and contributions from the Shale industry. ;-) Any newpaper you read now adays is slanted for either Republican or Democrat....no such thing and independent reporting anymore. " Jounalists"...lol....that is just a title they use as well now adays, it's in name only. The "soundbite" I'm taking to the poles come Tuesday is: Shortly after president Obama was elected into office -- House Minority Leader (R) Eric Cantor of VA. said on tv "We must do whatever it takes to make sure this president fails" It has long since been about the betterment of the country, it is about one team doing everything and anything as the cost of the country to beat the other team. IF you subscribe to partisan politics you are part of the problem not the solution.
Submitted by: Jo on Sunday, November 4, 2012
This is really very simple. They put out a 7.9% unemployment and tell us this is supposed to be good news? My neighbor's adult son graduated from college 2 years ago and still hasn't found a job. He has a degree in Economics with a good grade point average from NYU. And he can't find a job. Except as a substitute teacher for $130 a day, when he can get the work. In 2008 I voted for Barack Obama because I went to see him speak and I thought he was fantastic. I thought he was exactly what our country needed. But I just won't vote for him again. I know too many people who have been out of work for the first time in their lives. I have another neighbor, he's in his 40's, he's been out of work for nearly 3 years, and he has 3 kids to support. The man has sent out thousands of resumes and rarely even gets an interview. Obama's ideas aren't working. Yes, he is a wonderful speaker, but that's all he is, and his words mean nothing, his policies don't work. And I'm tired of hearing about how it's the Republicans' fault. President Clinton had to work with a Republican Congress and he did so, and did so very well. President Obama doesn't seem to work well with anybody. He had total control of our government for the first two years, got everything passed that he asked for, and this tells me loud and clear that his policies do not work. We are going down the drain. Enough already.
Submitted by: Kelli on Sunday, November 4, 2012
"TODAY, I AM PLEDGING TO CUT THE DEFICIT IN HALF BY THE END OF MY FIRST TERM IN OFFICE." - Barack Obama - Feb. 23, 2009. Did he cut the deficit in half? Not quite. Obama is the first President to have 4 consecutive TRILLION dollar deficits. Pledge broken. Now I supposed Obama will greatly increase income taxes to pay for the additional $4+ TRILLION in debt. The Obama administration led us to believe that the stumulis was going to lower the unemployment rate to 5.4% by the end of 2012. It is not even close to 5.4%. It's currently at 7.9%, higher than when Obama became President. Another claim broken.
Submitted by: Julian on Sunday, November 4, 2012
You can thank the superb leadership of President Obama over the last four years for the preeminence of the US markets and economy after the financial fiasco of the last Republican administration. Without the steadiness of the US as a safe haven, the global economy would have collapsed. Romney would crash the markets, economy, and the system, through tight money, ballooning deficits, higher interest rates, trade wars, deregulation of Wall Street, militarism, and every other inappropriate absurdity imaginable. Thank you President Obama, we need sanity in this time of crisis.