Monday, November 05, 2012

What's up with Romney focusing on Pennsylvania?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Desperation. It's that simple.

Axelrod:

Senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said Mitt Romney's visit to Pennsylvania shows the GOP nominee's campaign is in "deep trouble" and losing in the traditional battlegrounds.

Axelrod told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" that the Romney campaign's move into Pennsylvania is a sign of desperation because they are trailing in polls in Ohio, a state no Republican has won the election without.

"The battleground states on which we have been focusing on are not working out for them," Axelrod said. "We're ahead in all of them and now are looking for somewhere, desperately looking for somewhere to try and dislodge some electoral votes to win this election. And I can tell you that's not going to happen."

Silver:

Pennsylvania — where the forecast model puts Mr. Obama's chances at better than 95 percent.

One poll of Pennsylvania on Saturday, from Susquehanna Polling and Research, showed a different result, with the two candidates tied at 47 percent. But in context, this is not such a great poll for Mr. Romney.

The polling firm has had a very strong Republican lean this cycle — about five percentage points relative to the consensus, a much larger lean than firms like Rasmussen Reports and Public Policy Polling that are often criticized for having partisan results. Susquehanna is the only pollster to have shown Mr. Romney ahead in Pennsylvania at any point in the race, as they did on one occasion in February and another in October (Mr. Romney led by four points in their previous poll of the state). Perhaps they will be proven right, but it is usually a bad bet to bank on the one poll rather than the many.

Still, Mr. Romney's campaign is making a late play for Pennsylvania with advertising dollars and a visit there on Sunday.

That is probably a reasonable strategy, even though Mr. Romney's chances of pulling out a victory in Pennsylvania are slim. What makes it reasonable is that Mr. Romney's alternative paths to an Electoral College victory are not looking all that much stronger.

I suppose you can't blame Romney for trying. Just don't buy his campaign's spin that his presence in Pennsylvania is a sign of strength.

It's anything but.

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