New Castle News

May 21, 2012

John K. Manna: Data shows importance of Philadelphia for Democrats

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — In the view of some political pundits, Pennsylvania is considered a swing state in the upcoming presidential election.

Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.

The Democratic candidate has carried the commonwealth the last five times, including 2000 and 2004 when Republican George W. Bush was elected. That doesn’t assure a victory for President Obama in November, but there definitely is a trend.

Some political analysts apparently are influenced by the election of Republican Tom Corbett as governor in 2010 and the fact that both the state House and Senate are controlled by Republicans.

Add to that the fact that Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation includes 12 Republicans and seven Democrats in the House and one from each party in the Senate.

While the majority of voters preferred Corbett in 2010, the state was due for a Republican governor. Since the 1950s, Democrats and Republicans have alternated control of the governorship every eight years.

Turnout is a key ingredient in practically every election, but there may be no more striking indication of its signficance than what happened in the 2008 and 2010 elections.

Both Obama in 2008 and Dan Onorato, the Democratic candidate for governor in 2010, carried Philadelphia with about 83 percent of the vote. However, Obama received about 596,000 votes while Onorato had about 350,000 votes.

Onorato ended up losing, but Obama carried the state by more than 600,000 votes, thanks largely to the turnout in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

What it indicates is that Mitt Romney won’t carry that area, but his margin of loss will depend on turnout there. That region and Allegheny County are definitely key to Obama’s success regardless of what happens in the state’s center, which Democrats will essentially concede to Romney.