Monday, November 05, 2012

What is Romney doing in Pennsylvania?

This post has been updated.

Romney is going to be speaking at a rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania later today, for which he is receiving an immense amount of flak; Pennsylvania has not voted for a Republican since 1988 (for George HW Bush). 

Romney deserves criticism for only starting to play in this somewhat blue state within the last week, as he is seeking out a route to 270 electoral votes that doesn't include Ohio. There was always a chance Democrats could take Ohio and Romney was never more than three percentage points ahead since receiving the Republican nomination. 

Western Pennsylvania is prone to voting Republican. Pennsylvania, in a very facile way, has a hugely Democrat presence in congressional districts in Philadelphia, and this needs to be counterbalanced by Republicans elsewhere. Western Pennsylvania, where you will find Pittsburgh, is prone to voting conservatively. If Romney is going to find himself a decent-sized bloc of voters somewhere in Pennsylvania, it will be in Pittsburgh. 

Had Romney spent 10% of the time he spend in Ohio somewhere in western Pennsylvania, there was a remote chance he could flip this state. I have spent time in Crawford County, about 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh, and it is a Republican stronghold. 

Pennsylvania may have voted Democrat for the last five elections, but it is not a sure thing every time folks go to the polls. Romney left it way too late to even have a chance of exploiting any chance he may have had. And there was a chance - for goodness sake this is the state that sent Rick Santorum to the Senate twice, and whose junior Senator is Republican Pat Toomey. 

The chance was remote, but it is quite evident Romney never took it seriously anyway. One week of advertising and one campaign rally do not any kind of effort make.

Update: 15:25, 5 November: there is, of course, an arguable explanation that Romney has excess cash to spend, and hotly contested media markets in the usually swing states are full. I live near some swing districts in Chicago and there is political advertising flat out, virtually every advert during every advertising break. 

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