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Is Pennsylvania in Play (Three pollsters say: Yes!)
Townhall.com ^ | 10/11/12 | Guy Benson

Posted on 10/11/2012 11:39:30 AM PDT by TonyInOhio

Pennsylvania has not voted for a Republican presidential nominee in 24 years, when George H.W. Bush carried the state narrowly in 1988. In subsequent cycles, the Keystone State frequently felt like 'the one that got away' for Republicans; polling would look close and tightening in October, only to go blue in November, thanks to Democrats' formidable firewall in Greater Philadelphia. This year, it appeared that Pennsylvania wouldn't even be in the conversation for the GOP ticket. Barack Obama won the state by double-digits in 2008, and numerous public opinion polls showed the president maintaining -- or even expanding -- his advantage. Indeed, a CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac poll released at the tail end of September indicated that Obama led Mitt Romney by a whopping 12 points, 54-42 percent. Game over, right? Perhaps not. A string of October polls suggests the president's lead is tenuous, sitting within the margin of error.

The first pollster to detect this dynamic was Susquehanna Polling and Research, which measured a two-point, margin of error race in the state last month. When the firm released its September data, outside observers dismissed it as an outlier and moved on. Chief pollster Jim Lee penned a compelling memo defending his methodology and assumptions, but it garnered little notice. When a separate Susquehanna poll, conducted for a media client, produced a nearly identical result this month, a few more eyebrows perked up. Then came a perception game-changer: Sienna College's published a presidential poll showing three-point race, within the margin of error, with many undecided voters still making up their minds. And, crucially, the majority of the survey was conducted before last week's presidential debate. Could Pennsylvania be much more competitive than the laugher many anticipated? I spoke with Susquehanna's president and founder, Jim Lee, about his organization's findings. He doesn't see a massive or unexpected Romney surge in Pennsylvania; he sees terribly flawed polling assumptions from some of his competitors.

Susquehanna is a Harrisburg-based, Republican-affiliated polling firm founded in 2000. They serve numerous campaigns as well as media clients. "We only really poll for Republican candidates, but the media uses us and respects us because we're accurate," Lee says. "In our public polling, we call them like we see them, based on the data," even if it means bad news for the GOP. The outfit's track record over recent cycles has been fairly impressive. In 2008, their final survey showed Barack Obama leading John McCain "by around eight points," Lee says. The Democrat won by ten. In 2010, Susquehanna slightly underestimated the margin of Republican Tom Corbett's victory, but nailed the high-profile Senate race. "We were the only pollster who got that one right. Everyone else had [Republican Senator Pat] Toomey leading pretty comfortably, but our data showed that the race was getting closer. I even presented our information to Toomey, who gave me a lecture about polling methodology. We had better information than his internals," Lee recalls. An aggregation of polls from RealClearPolitics at the time showed most surveys projecting a 5-7 point win for Toomey. Only Susquehanna anticipated the late tightening and correctly predicted Toomey's slender two-point win. How did Lee and his team pull it off? By studying historical data and poring over a huge volume of state-level data. Based on this information, they determined a likely Democrat vs. Republican turnout model, then weighted their poll samples accordingly. They've done the same this year, concluding that Pennsylvania's electorate will likely be in the D+6 range in 2012, two points less Democratic than 2008.

Our polling has been validated and vindicated because our D-to-R ratio is much more appropriate than other pollsters'," Lee explains. Some firms keep under-sampling Republicans, by as much as 7 or 8 points. That's a big deal. Nationally it's tough, but on a state-by-state basis, you can use data to weight samples based on likely turnouts, and we do. We know this state. These other firms showing the president with gigantic leads here have been massively under-sampling Republican voters. They have Republican turnout polling even lower than registration levels in this state -- which almost always understate Republican turnout. It just isn't believable. We've been polling at 48-42 D-to-R, for a D+6. The political landscape has clearly shifted."Another data point Lee finds relevant is that in his statewide polling, the incumbent routinely fails to hit or exceed 50 percent in any of what he regards as the three "key" measures: Job approval, favorability and head-to-head. "Voters are pretty polarized at this point. He was at 52-34 favorability in 2008, today it's 47-47, and it's been stuck there for months. That's just one example of why we've been looking at a much closer race than a lot of people were suggesting."

How much closer? Susquehanna's latest poll shows President Obama ahead by two points, a statistical tie. Among the likeliest voters, Romney leads by a point. Lee says last week's debate didn't move the topline results, but substantially improved Romney's personal favorability. For the first time, Romney is above water on the question and has even edged slightly ahead of the president. Lee is doubly confident that his firm's numbers are sound because he's seen corroborating evidence as he's traveled the state. He's polled 40 separate elections at the local level (state house, state senate, etc), many of which are contested seats. "I've seen the micro numbers from across Pennsylvania, and at the presidential level, it's adding up. The president has seen a very clear drop in support across the board."

Earlier this week, Susquehanna released a poll of Pennsylvania's sleeper Senate race, pitting incumbent Bob Casey, Jr. against Republican businessman Tom Smith. Casey has been regarded the odds-on favorite to waltz to a second term, but his margin has shrunk, and some handicappers have moved the race a notch or two toward "pure toss up" status. Lee's latest figures peg Casey's lead at just two points, closely mirroring the presidential contest. "All the movement has been to Smith in the last three months, Lee observes. "Casey's been sitting in the mid-to-high 40's for months. Smith's done a pretty decent job at winning back a lot of Reagan Democrats, who are socially conservative, but identify as Democrats. He's done two things right: He's spent the money to fight his way in, and he's had a very effective message -- which is that Casey's been ineffective in office."

The Romney campaign has indicated that they're monitoring the situation in Pennsylvania very closely, but they continue to downplay expectations there. Romney has devoted relatively few resources to the state, focusing much more heavily on other battlegrounds. (The nominee did deliver a speech in Wayne, Pennsylvania in late September). Keystone presidential aspirations may again prove to be a mirage for the GOP, but the notion that the state will be an easy layup for Barack Obama looks more dubious than ever. If the Obama campaign feels compelled to step up its efforts and expenditures to lock the state down, that could be an organizational concession of significant erosion elsewhere. Stay tuned.

UPDATE - New Pennsylvania poll: Obama 47, Romney 45. That makes three separate polls within the last week showing a two-to-three point contest. Maybe Susquehanna wasn't such an outlier after all.

UPDATE II - Is Romney within six...in Connecticut?


TOPICS: Front Page News; Politics/Elections; US: Ohio; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: romneymentum
It's always valuable to get the scoop from the source, and this is very encouraging. I suspect Obama still wins Pennsylvania, but if these pollsters are showing a close race there, then Romney is clearly leading in Ohio, which has similar demographics but leans more to the right. If Romney loses PA by two or three points on election night, it means he has has already carried Ohio and likely is the President-Elect.
1 posted on 10/11/2012 11:39:33 AM PDT by TonyInOhio
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To: fatima; st.eqed; xsmommy; Nowhere Man; South Hawthorne; brityank; Physicist; WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; ..

PA Ping!

If you want on/off the PA Ping List, please freepmail me.

If you see posts of interest to Pennsylvanians, please ping me.

Thanks!


2 posted on 10/11/2012 11:44:53 AM PDT by randita
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To: TonyInOhio

Breaking Rasmussen Connecticut : Obama 51% Romney 45% (Oct 9th)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2942341/posts


3 posted on 10/11/2012 11:46:22 AM PDT by matt04
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To: TonyInOhio

My thoughts too, though I would not be completely shocked in Romney wins PA too. Things are BAD all over and people are not happy.


4 posted on 10/11/2012 11:56:24 AM PDT by PghBaldy (I am sick of Obama's and Hillary's apologies to muslims, especially after 11 September 2012.)
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To: TonyInOhio

The last time Pennsylvania went for a President was in 1988 with George HW Bush. Bush was a moderate Republican and at best Romney is a moderate Republican so it is possible that Pennsylvania may go for Romney.


5 posted on 10/11/2012 11:58:57 AM PDT by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: TonyInOhio

The last time Pennsylvania went for a President was in 1988 with George HW Bush. Bush was a moderate Republican and at best Romney is a moderate Republican so it is possible that Pennsylvania may go for Romney.


6 posted on 10/11/2012 11:58:57 AM PDT by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: TonyInOhio

This is just anecdotal but interesting nonetheless...

I literally just returned to Long Island an hour ago from a brief trip to the family lake house in Wayne County, PA (near Honesdale).

During the drive through rural NJ (Sparta, Branchville, Montague), Pike County PA (Milford), Wayne County PA (Hawley/Honesdale), and on a side trip through Lackawanna County PA (Scranton/Carbondale), I decided to count lawn signs — I only counted signs placed on PRIVATE property — not outside political headquarters offices or on public property like town squares. Here’s what I saw:

Lawn signs for Romney/Ryan: 47
Lawn signs for Obama: 10
Plus...one hand-made, very large painted wooden sign in Waymart, PA that read: “For God’s Sake WAKE UP AMERICA! He’s Ruining Our Country!”

Sounds like PA’s in play to me, if I’m seeing numbers like that in a union thug area like Lackawanna County.

Regards,


7 posted on 10/11/2012 12:11:04 PM PDT by VermiciousKnid (Sic narro nos totus!)
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To: TonyInOhio

The problem in PA has been a combination of Philly and its burbs which are more democrap than most burbs. Republicans have been making inroads in the Pitt area but Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Delaware County have killed us.


8 posted on 10/11/2012 12:17:32 PM PDT by Darren McCarty (Holding my nose one more time to get rid of Eric Holder)
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To: PghBaldy; TonyInOhio
We spend a lot of weekends driving in rural PA. With the exception of the Pennsylvania Dutch areas, the place is looking as run-down and threadbare as I've ever seen it, and I clearly recall the conditions Carter years. If anything it is in worse shape now. Long-established family businesses are locked up and gone. Subdivisions full of vacant McMansions and trash are everywhere between Harrisburg and Allentown. Worst of all, the spirit seems to have gone out of people. Everyone seems tired and beaten, and some folks have gotten mean. We actually cut our last day trip short because it was just too depressing and I was tired of dealing with sullen people.

All this is to say, how in the h*ll can these people vote for "Four More Years?"

9 posted on 10/11/2012 12:23:38 PM PDT by jboot (This isn't your father's America. Stay safe and keep your powder dry.)
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To: TonyInOhio
The problem is that Philthydelphia and Pittsburgh pretty much rule the state as far as state wide elections go.

Philthy in particular is known for having precincts that report more votes than registered voters and no one bats an eye. And let us not forget the New Black Pampers.

10 posted on 10/11/2012 12:26:40 PM PDT by Drill Thrawl (I can haz CW 2 now?)
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To: Darren McCarty
Republicans have been making inroads in the Pitt area but Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Delaware County have killed us.

Chester county has been back-sliding as well.

It's maily all the people that fled Philthy and brought all their bull crap with them.

11 posted on 10/11/2012 12:29:21 PM PDT by Drill Thrawl (I can haz CW 2 now?)
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To: TonyInOhio
I have suspected Pennsylvania was in play ever since the Democratic Primary undervote was published. Western PA Democrats are clearly looking for another choice this election.

Pennsylvania is a closed primary state. It is surprising so many Democrats voted down ticket in the Primary and ignored the presidential choice. This will be an interesting election. I do believe Philadelphia vote fraud has been included in the polling data.
12 posted on 10/11/2012 12:30:56 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: Drill Thrawl

What would Benjamin Franklin say today about his beloved Philadelphia? Would he be surprised at how it turned out?


13 posted on 10/11/2012 12:35:14 PM PDT by Theodore R. (Annoy the Establishment! Vote for Akin!)
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To: Theodore R.
What would Benjamin Franklin say today about his beloved Philadelphia? Would he be surprised at how it turned out?

As to the filthy and stench, probably not as the nickname Philthydelphia goes back about 300 years. As to the socialist entitlement mentality that has taken hold, I imagine he would go ballistic or as Davey Crockett would later say "You may all go to Hell, I will go to Texas."

14 posted on 10/11/2012 1:03:14 PM PDT by Drill Thrawl (I can haz CW 2 now?)
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To: napscoordinator
The last time Pennsylvania went for a President was in 1988 with George HW Bush. Bush was a moderate Republican and at best Romney is a moderate Republican so it is possible that Pennsylvania may go for Romney.

The difference is the intervening 25 years in which the Dem party has become completely subsumed by its radical left Marxists and the 24/7 PR campaign run for them by the MSM. This turns the "moderation" of HW into the "ultra rightwing facism" of Romney. With the large Philly & Pittsburgh urban population, union history, cultural affiliation to the Dem party.... I don't know... I'd love to see PA go R, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

15 posted on 10/11/2012 1:11:22 PM PDT by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1)
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To: TonyInOhio

Welcome to the party folks.. I’ve been trying to tell folks this for MONTHS!!!!!!

PA is in play, always has been, Romney fights for it, he can win it.. and because PA is where it is, the very idea that Obama has a chance in hell at OH is laughable.


16 posted on 10/11/2012 1:11:43 PM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: TonyInOhio
- Is Romney within six...in Connecticut?

Hmmmm... within 6 in CT?? With Linda running a great campaign, they might be a surprise for Danny Boy and the other Marxists in CT (3 GOP house members, and a R senator?)

CT is not as LIBERAL as Mass...but Malloy cheated to get in the GOVERNOR'S OFFICE... Folley should be the GOV.

17 posted on 10/11/2012 1:14:19 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (Yes, Obama, I had help with my business. MY CUSTOMERS!)
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To: PA Engineer

If it wasn’t for Philly, PA would be as reliably red as any state of the south.

Folks liek to blame Pitt, and while the city and county are solidly democratic it does not remotely pull the state. Philly is what overwhelms republicans, not Pitt.

You come out of Philly without being smothered as a republican you win PA.

PA has ALWAYS been in play, but up until now, Romney seems to have yeilded the field of battle, and I agree I would probably focus elsewhere first as well. However, if Romney were to fight for it, he could win it. Or at very least cause OBAMA to have to spend a lot of time and money to try to defend it and perhaps hold it by a small margin.

I look at PA as the bellweather at this point.. Romney clearly conceded PA a while ago, if suddenly you see major ad buys in PA, that’s your indication that the Romney campaign feels confident they have the election won.


18 posted on 10/11/2012 1:15:55 PM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: HamiltonJay
“PA is in play, always has been, Romney fights for it, he can win it.. and because PA is where it is, the very idea that Obama has a chance in hell at OH is laughable.”

Mitt doesn't need PA. He needs to spend every single resource in Ohio.

19 posted on 10/11/2012 1:36:08 PM PDT by HenpeckedCon (What pi$$es me off the most is that POS commie will get a State Funeral!)
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To: TonyInOhio

It’s all about the suburban counties. The T will stay Republican, but whoever wins the southeastern suburbs like Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery wins the state.

Philadelphia by itself can’t carry the state, even in 1972 when Nixon got nearly 20 points ahead of McGovern, Philadelphia still voted for McGovern.

1988 was the last time the Suburban counties voted Republican, and the voters there are more fiscally conservative than anything.

Social issues are a turnoff for a lot of people, which is why I know people who thought that Bush was a “Redneck Christo-fascist” (remember that buzz word?) who are voting for Romney this time.


20 posted on 10/11/2012 2:35:32 PM PDT by Shadow44
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To: Shadow44

I think Obama will take PA.


21 posted on 10/11/2012 2:44:00 PM PDT by fatima (Free Hugs Today :))
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To: Shadow44
The T will stay Republican, but whoever wins the southeastern suburbs like Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery wins the state.

I think there's hope for Bucks, Republican Fitzpatrick (PA-8) beat Rat Patrick Scumbag Murphy by 7 points in 2010. Murphy, in turn, beat Tom Manion by 15 points in 2008. I wish I could say the same about Montgomery, though.

22 posted on 10/11/2012 3:12:50 PM PDT by Fresh Wind ('People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.' Richard M. Nixon)
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To: Fresh Wind

Yeah, I noticed that there’s hardly any yard signs in the area (I live in Bucks myself), and the ones I do see are for Romney. I’m hopeful, but also realistic that I’m a lot more right-wing than the typical Republican voters here.

Manion was a good guy, although it was a huge mistake to essentially have Murphy turn it into a referendum on the Iraq War again.

I agree about Montgomery County. If Montco flips, then this election will be a cakewalk for Romney.


23 posted on 10/11/2012 3:25:23 PM PDT by Shadow44
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To: VermiciousKnid

During the drive through rural NJ (Sparta, Branchville, Montague), Pike County PA (Milford), Wayne County PA (Hawley/Honesdale), and on a side trip through Lackawanna County PA (Scranton/Carbondale), I decided to count lawn signs — I only counted signs placed on PRIVATE property — not outside political headquarters offices or on public property like town squares. Here’s what I saw:

Lawn signs for Romney/Ryan: 47
Lawn signs for Obama: 10


I have even better news for you, many more of those yards would be showing Romney signs if there hadn’t been a problem with the state’s order getting backed up. I volunteer at one of the offices along your route. People have been pouring in for weeks begging for Romney yard signs but we only received a couple of handfuls to tide us over until we got our batch from the Romney campaign. We just received those a few days ago and now people can come in to get them.

By the way, I love your screenname... I had to memorize the poem in school when I was little, it’s still a huge favorite of mine :-)

.


24 posted on 10/11/2012 3:27:40 PM PDT by Tamzee (The U.S. re-electing Obama would be like the Titanic backing up and ramming the iceberg again.)
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To: TonyInOhio

Romney needs to have a sit down with the head of the United Mine Workers and get their endorsement.

Give them a blank check...Whatever they want.

That will ice Pennsylvania and Ohio for Romney/Ryan.


25 posted on 10/11/2012 3:37:24 PM PDT by bigoil (Study Thy Nixon)
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To: Tamzee

Oh,Tamzee, that IS good news! My poor family has felt quite alone for many years up there being the nearly the only ones brave enough to proclaim their GOP status.

I was extremely happy to see so many R/R signs, and equally happy to see a dearth of Obamalamadingdong signs as well. Your report from the front lines in PA is heartening.

Sadly, I myself am in NY — a hopeless case if ever there was one. One day, I shall escape from here and live somewhere distinctly red. I’d love for that place to be our little lake up in the woods.

Regards,

PS: Thanks for the H/T on my screen name!


26 posted on 10/11/2012 3:52:01 PM PDT by VermiciousKnid (Sic narro nos totus!)
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To: TonyInOhio

I’ve been saying for weeks that if Romney wins PA, go to bed, it’s over.


27 posted on 10/11/2012 3:53:47 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Democrats are dangerous and evil. Republicans are just useful idiots.)
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To: napscoordinator

PA went for Reagan in 1984. Heck, all states but MN did.


28 posted on 10/11/2012 3:55:05 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Democrats are dangerous and evil. Republicans are just useful idiots.)
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To: napscoordinator
True enough but remember, Bush was running as Reagan's third term in 1988.
29 posted on 10/11/2012 4:55:07 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Shadow44
I agree about Montgomery County. If Montco flips, then this election will be a cakewalk for Romney.

I was just talking to my daughter who lives in Montco (PA 13) and she told me that everyone she hears says they are voting for Obama.

I remember when Montco was solid republican - and all the townships and burgs too - but that was 30 years or so ago.

30 posted on 10/12/2012 8:35:41 PM PDT by Abby4116
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