Pennsylvania: a state that has historically been solidly blue. Well, that might change for the first time in 24 years, as the polls show the race between Romney and Obama tightening in the keystone state. A Tribune Review poll, surveying 800 likely voters, has the race for Pennsylvania’s twenty electoral votes in a dead heat, with each candidate nabbing 47% of the vote.
The common wisdom is that Pennsylvania will end up swinging toward Obama on Tuesday, but if you remember that back in 2008, Obama won the state by a solid 10 point margin, things are looking a bit bleak for the incumbent.
In response to this tightening race, the Romney camp has poured millions into last minute advertising to try to sway any remaining undecideds to his side. In addition to that, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made stops there over the weekend in a final push for the traditionally blue state.
As I mentioned before, I think this poll shift is significant. Due to the fact that it has been 24 years since a Republican has won Pennsylvania, that in 2008, Obama won by a sizable margin, that polls have tightened significantly since the Denver debate, and because Pennsylvania doesn’t provide early voting, I believe this is huge.
The fact that Pennsylvania could go to Romney really points to a severe dissatisfaction among even the president’s core voters. The fact that–at least according to the tightening polls–10% of those who voted in 2008 have turned from Obama is staggering, and I believe that reflects much of the rest of the country.
In addition to that, a new Michigan poll out on Sunday has Mitt Romney and Obama essentially tied at 46.86% to 46.24%, in favor of Romney. This is a state that in 2008, broke for Obama by 17 percentage points.
The Obama camp is trying desperately to spin these results. On Fox News Sunday, David Axelrod said this:
“They understand that they’re in deep trouble…they’ve tried to expand the map because they know in states like Ohio…they’re behind and they’re not catching up at this point.”
Later on, he continued the spin:
“They understand that the traditional, or the battleground, states that we’ve been focusing are not working out for them. Now they’re looking for somewhere, desperately looking for somewhere.”
That’s funny, because recent polls not only show a Romney lead in early voting, but a Tampa Bay/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll gives Romney a 6 point lead in the sunshine state. In addition to that, according to The Hill:
“Florida voters trust Romney better on the economy and say that he will look out more for the middle class by 50 to 48 for Obama. Romney also holds a 2-point advantage on which candidate would better manage foreign policy…Romney is viewed more positively by voters in the state. Obama has a 42 percent favorable rating to 49 unfavorable, while Romney has a 53 favorable and 34 unfavorable split.”
According to the poll, 8% of Florida voters remain undecided. However, with that favorability split, I would argue that the 8% will swing to Romney.
1. The Obama campaign is in trouble if they’re sending Axelrod out to spin the dead heat in Pennsylvania and the lead in Florida as desperation.
2. The tightening races in Pennsylvania and Michigan–traditionally blue states–do not bode well for Obama, and I believe they reflect the sentiments of the rest of the country.
If I had to make a prediction now, I’d say Romney is going to win both Pennsylvania and Michigan, leading to a sizable election victory. I could be wrong, of course. We’ll just have to wait till Tuesday to find out.