Pennsylvania is in rough shape. The economy is dead, jobs are extremely scarce, and millions and millions of unemployed and underemployed Pennsylvanians have no place to go. Pennsylvania recently overtook Nevada to become the number one state for gambling revenue. Unfortunately, the gambling industry did not produce enough jobs and the rest of the economy looks dismal.
The Democrats are in office and they are taking the hit for it. There are two major statewide elections coming in November, one for the United States Senate and one for Governor. The Democrats will probably lose both elections. It appears the only winning strategy left is to mobilize the base and run up the score in Philadelphia. Hopefully, the big lead in Philadelphia will carry them to victory in the state. This strategy has worked before for the Democrats. It will be a hard sell for the Democrats. They will have to convince the party faithful to come out in large and overwhelming numbers even though the future looks bleak right now. It can be done, but it will be very difficult.
The Franklin and Marshall/Times Shamrock Newspapers Poll
Currently the Republicans are energized while the Democrats are basically unmotivated. The Republicans are energized as they can see the Democrats weakness, and they are convinced that they can govern better and turn the economy around. The Republican lead is beginning to show in the polls. Republican candidates lead by substantial margins among likely voters in the Senate and gubernatorial races. The one glimmer of hope is that large numbers of voters remain undecided. With the sour economy, however, it is difficult to imagine the majority of undecided voters coming out for the Democrats. The polling information is from a new poll by Franklin and Marshall College and Times-Shamrock Newspapers.
In the race for the Senate, former Republican Congressman Patrick Toomey led Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak 40 to 31 percent. This finding is from a survey of 377 likely voters with 26 percent undecided. The remaining three percent of the voters supported other candidates, and the margin of error for that survey was a plus or minus 5.4 percentage points
When the poll changed and focused on 485 voters without screening for their likelihood of voting the results also changed. Republican Toomey’s lead dropped to 31 to 28 percent and 38 percent said they do not know who they will vote for. Three percent said they would support another candidate. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 points.
In the governor’s race, Republican state Attorney General Tom Corbett led Democrat Dan Onorato by 38 to 27 percent among the 377 likely voters. Thirty one percent were undecided and 4 percent supported other candidates. Again, the results changed when voters were surveyed without screening for their likelihood of voting. The lead changed from 29 to 28 percent with 39 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting other candidates. The margin of error were the same as in the survey taken for the Senate race.
The poll also demonstrated a significant difference in enthusiasm for Republican and Democratic voters. Republicans outnumbered Democrats by about 8 percent in the important categories of being very interested in the election or being very likely to vote.
Poll director and political analyst G. Terry Madonna said the enthusiasm difference could be the difference in the election. The closeness in the races when all voters and not just likely voters are counted shows Democrats could win if they get their voters to the polls on election day. This is especially true in Philadelphia. Statewide Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 1.1 million voters.
The poll also demonstrated that Pennsylvanians are more pessimistic on the state’s fortunes then ever. This poll showed more pessimism than any other survey since Dr. Madonna began asking voters if they believed the state is headed in the right direction.
Only 30 percent said the state is on the right track, while 58 percent said it was going in the wrong direction. Governor Ed Rendell’s job approval rating has also dropped to the lowest point since he has been governor. Only 30 percent believe he is doing a good or excellent job while 68 percent said he is doing a fair or poor job. These figures bode well for Tom Corbett, the Republican candidate for governor. In both statewide races, problems with the economy are most important to the voters.
How The Election Affects Me
I am one of the hopelessly underemployed in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I have a part-time job with little or no chance to get a decent full-time job. As a Republican Committeeman, my job is to help Republicans get elected so the the economy can turn around and we all can find decent employment in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and throughout the state. I will do this by spending time at Republican Headquarters and making phone calls for the candidates, putting literature in the mail, publishing letters to the editor, and making comments on local talk radio. I will keep my readers up to date on how the campaigns are going and how people are reacting to my ideas.
I am a working class Republican and not a country club Republican. I do not support the Republican Party because I want them to reduce taxes to protect my wealth, or develop a better business climate so my business can succeed. I do not have much wealth to protect, and I do not have my own business. I am a Republican because I believe they can stimulate the economy and give us a good chance to find decent employment. I also believe the Democrats will spend us into oblivion.
Source: Borys Krawczeniuk, Energized GOP shows strength in Pennsylvania, The Citizens’ Voice, August, 26, 2010.