Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney made his first foray into Pennsylvania on Sunday night. The Romney campaign argues that it is trying to expand the electoral map by winning a state that Barack Obama has been expected to win. They are trying to portray his visit to Pennsylvania as a show of confidence; but it is more a show of desperation.
Democratic presidential candidates have won the Keystone State in five straight elections. The RealClearPolitics polls show that the president is ahead in Pennsylvania. Therefore, since both history and the polls favor Obama, it's a good indication that the president is in a strong position to win the state once again.
Romney is still struggling to erase the narrow but consistent leads that Obama continue to maintain in those crucial Midwestern states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa. Without those states, Romney’s path to 270 electoral votes, which he would need to win in order to get elected, would be nigh impossible. Winning Pennsylvania, however, would make it easier for Romney to reach 270.
To reach that goal, Romney has resumed airing ads in the Keystone State. The Romney camp, along with the Republican National Committee, expects to spend almost $12 million in the closing days of the campaign. For Romney, however, a win in Pennsylvania would be even more difficult than a win in Ohio. For instance, there are more than a million registered Democrats than Republicans in the state. As pointed out by Michael Tomasky, Obama has been in the lead in “53 straight polls.” Furthermore, it was in 1988 that a Republican presidential candidate won Pennsylvania for the last time. Equally important, Nate Silver, who was quite accurate in his 2008 predictions, gives Obama a 97% chance of winning Pennsylvania.
John Weaver, a strategist who worked for John McCain, said that “Pennsylvania is fool's gold for Republicans.” Because of the difficulty that Romney is having in Ohio, his campaign is looking for another alternative to the Buckeye State. Unfortunately for Romney, he faces an even greater hurdle in Pennsylvania than in Ohio.
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