Battleground states can make or break a candidate’s election. In the clamor for electoral votes, the campaigns regularly unleash a barrage of ads, flooding mailboxes and TV screens, while the candidates duly make their rounds giving impassioned speeches to constituents. But this season, some typically contentious regions are being left off the map.
Pennsylvania is one of those states. While it has long been a hotbed of party competition, Pennsylvania hasn’t backed a Republican for the White House since George H. W. Bush in 1988. Perhaps for this reason and others, Governor Romney and President Obama have focused their attention elsewhere, in states like Colorado and Ohio.
So what happens when a swing state falls off the swing state radar? Helping answer that question are James O’Toole, a political reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Rob Gleason, the chairman of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania.
"Republicans have not put resources in Pennsylvania so far for the presidential race," O'Toole says. "But there is evidence of movement toward Romney, and it's got to be at least tempting for Republicans in these final three weeks to think about whether they want to recalibrate their attitude."
In spite of the poll numbers, which have favored Obama throughout the election season, Rob Gleason is confident that the state will go red on November 6th. "We're going to skip being a battleground state," Gleason says. "We're going right for Romney." Gleason attributes this belief to the high unemployment in his state.
The gap in the polls still shows Obama with a lead of +5 or +6, but James O'Toole agrees that there is a chance that Romney could steal the state out from under Obama. "There's no question that there has been movement in other polls in Romney's direction," O'Toole says. He cites a recent Quinnipiac survey, where, "for the first time, his favorable ratings exceeded his unfavorable ratings. So that shows some shift in the evaluation of him since his strong performance in Denver."