The state of Pennsylvania has been likened to “Charlie Brown and the football” for Republican presidential candidates in recent decades, with early hopes of winning the state fading by Election Day. This year, however, Pennsylvania is looking more and more competitive as the day draws nearer–and the proof is how much energy the Obama campaign is suddenly expending in the Keystone State with so little time left.
Rock legend Bruce Springsteen, who has stumped for Democratic candidates for the past eight years, will be making an appearance for President Obama this afternoon in Pittsburgh. (Obama himself will be at the White House, devoting the day to media interviews.) Yesterday, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell told MSNBC that he is “scared to death” that Obama’s performance in the Third Presidential Debate would fail to elevate him in the polls. And polls show the race tightening in Pennsylvania, with Obama slightly in the lead, albeit past the crucial 50% mark. The momentum remains on Romney’s side going into the final days.
Tomorrow, Obama will visit Ohio with President Bill Clinton–but he is targeting Youngstown, near the Pennsylvania border, a tactical decision that will expose voters in western Pennsylvania to coverage of the event. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have targeted Ohio for the same reason, and Ryan recently made a campaign stop at a rally in Pittsburgh. Residents have also started to see their first presidential ads targeted specifically at Pennsylvania media markets, with anecdotal reports of Obama ads airing in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania is one of three states currently leaning toward Obama where an exceptionally strong turnout by Republicans and weak turnout by Democrats could cause an unexpected flip. The other two are Minnesota, which is proving surprisingly close, and Connecticut, where Romney has been outperforming expectations.
Photo credit: Bruno Schlumberger, Ottawa Citizen