Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s campaign strategists believe the weak economy and some of President Obama’s positions that offended Catholics might help Romney have a chance to win Pennsylvania, a state that Democrats have won in the last five presidential elections.
But Romney’s team acknowledges that it’s an uphill climb—polls show Obama ahead, 47 to 39 percent, and Democrats have a huge voter registration advantage. Obama won Pennsylvania by 10 points over McCain in 2008, but Republicans won control of the Pennsylvania legislature in 2010 and proceeded to pass oppressive voting laws in the state that could depress turnout among young people and people of color. For instance, all voters in Pennsylvania will now be required to present an ID that includes an expiration date—a random requirement that could hurt college students without driver’s licenses, since many college IDs don’t contain expiration dates.
While experts predict that Obama will still win Pennsylvania—particularly since the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is lower than in the rest of the country, and the auto industry bailout that Obama pushed and that Romney opposed is extremely popular in Pennsylvania—the conventional election thinking goes that if Romney requires Obama to spend money and resources in a state that he should be win easily, then that’s money and resources that he won’t be spending elsewhere.
Andrew Reilly, chairman of the Delaware County GOP, told the Associated Press, “Pennsylvania is a challenge. I think Romney’s got a shot.”