January 29, 2006


Swann's Popularity Has a Downside for Some Pennsylvania Republicans (Shailagh Murray and Chris Cillizza, January 29, 2006, Washington Post)

Former Pittsburgh Steelers legend Lynn Swann, who is hoping to be the Republican nominee in this year's Pennsylvania governor's race, is giving Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell more than a run for his money in the latest polls.

That may sound like good news for the GOP -- but some Pennsylvania Republicans are clapping with one hand. It turns out good news can sometimes be bad, at least according to the anxious (and possibly overheated) calculations of some strategists.

Here's the logic. If Rendell were going to win in a cakewalk, many Democrats in the places where he is most popular -- such as the suburbs of Philadelphia -- might get lazy and not work hard to get out the vote on Election Day. [...]

All this speculation may be a bit premature. Swann still has a fight on his hands for the nomination. But he got good news last week in a poll released by the GOP firm Strategic Vision. It showed Swann leading Rendell 46 to 44 percent, with 10 percent undecided.

Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman showed that the GOP could use increased turnout to its advantage in the not dissimilar state of Ohio.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 29, 2006 8:51 AM


There is no place like Philly when it comes to manufacturing voted for Democrats.

Posted by: mike at January 29, 2006 9:13 AM

There is no state similar to PA. Regardless of what the early polls may indicate, the bedrock GOP voters are very rural, very old, and not inclined to vote for a Black man. If Swann is to win, he will have to persuade many living and dead Philly Dems to vote GOP, and that would be a first.

Posted by: curt at January 29, 2006 9:43 AM

Come on LISTEN TO THE STORY. The story is not aimed directly at the media not publishing polls that show a lead too big to overcome.

Poll manipulation is easy, and is done every day: the media is being asked to manipulate it so that the poll shows a close race. I expect the Philadelphia newspapers to comply, too.

Posted by: Arnold Williams at January 29, 2006 10:35 AM

the Dem GOTV effort in PA is going to be ginormous regardless as they need to pick up Santorum's seat.

Posted by: JAB at January 29, 2006 1:30 PM

. . . the bedrock GOP voters are very rural, very old, and not inclined to vote for a Black man . . .

Probably lots more inclined than you may realize. The very similar bedrock rural GOP voters in Ohio are looking likely to elect Ken Blackwell as our next governor. Moreover, Lynn Swann is a Pittsburgh Steeler, which is probably worth 5-10% of the vote.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 29, 2006 2:44 PM

Here's the logic. If Rendell were going to win in a cakewalk, many Democrats in the places where he is most popular -- such as the suburbs of Philadelphia -- might get lazy and not work hard to get out the vote on Election Day.

So basically they're saying Democrats are going to come out in force to vote against a black man, including in the party's urban strongholds in Pennsylvania.

Interesting logic, which if true, will make for some interesting campaigning by the Rendell people in the run-up to November, given the Democrats' love of racial identity politics for the past 40 years.

Posted by: John at January 29, 2006 3:10 PM

Sure, there will be a lot of race-baiting in the election, and a lot of winks and nods (and fraud) by the machine in Philly. But the key in PA is the anger towards the State Legislature, which passed a ~20% pay hike last spring (and Rendell signed). The anger became a prairie fire, which led to the raise being rescinded in the fall.

If Swann is able to focus that anger on Rendell, he will win, perhaps by as much as 53-47.

I also think Casey will be a less-than-enthusiastic candidate against Santorum. He may win regardless, but he is a minor official in the state government, and does not have the impact his father did. Now that Casey has endorsed Alito, the abortion zealots will not be happy.

Santorum should ask the voters every day - "why is Bob running? Because Chuck Schumer wants to interfere in PA? What do you think?"

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 29, 2006 4:58 PM


Ah yes, reminds me of the heady days when experts thought GWB could actually win this state in 2004...even after something like 35 GWB visits in 4 years, it wasn't even close.

Swann seems like a nice guy, and folks did hate that pay raise (they haven't seen a new job, let alone a pay raise, anywhere in that State since Reagan), but Swann is way too exotic for the average PA GOP voter, who, believe it or not, is approximately 76 years old, still lives in the house she was born in, and has never traveled beyond the next county over.

Posted by: curt at January 29, 2006 7:34 PM

Not close? He got to within a hundred and fifty thousand votes.

Posted by: oj at January 29, 2006 7:51 PM


That's a pretty typical number in PA. Gore won the State by 200,000 votes in 2000, Papa Bush beat Dukakis by 100,000 votes. Everyone knew the state was in Kerry's column by mid-October.

Posted by: curt at January 29, 2006 8:13 PM

Yes, they kept Kerry defending PA & NJ that late in the race. It's a state that's in play and McCain or Jeb could easily win it. Bush just never got past Bob Jones.

Posted by: oj at January 29, 2006 8:30 PM

The problem with PA is that the Philly suburbs have trended Democratic (much like Nassau & Suffolk counties in NY) since about 1990. PA has a strong Republican center, and the suburbs of Pittsburgh have voted Republican for a long time (except for the the union pockets, which are much less important today than 15 years ago). If Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, and Bucks counties voted as Republican as they did in 1980, Bush would have carried PA both times.

Philadelphia worked when Rendell was mayor, but in some ways, John Street is taking the city back into Wilson Goode territory. Street himself may be indicted before too long in a long-running Federal investigation (some of his top aides have been and/or will be). One of the reasons Philly was so strongly Democratic in 2004 was resentment over wiretaps in the mayor's office. But the investigation continues.

PA could easily vote for McCain or Giuliani in 2008. The problem for the Dems is that all their moonbat candidates don't have any connections with the black community, so they can't count on the loyal votes that Bill Clinton and Al Gore got.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 29, 2006 8:49 PM

The "strategists" thinking in the piece is laughable.

Even with all the evidence of the strategy of "playing to win" being vastly superior to "Playing not to lose", these idiots argue for the latter.

What boneheads!

Posted by: Bruno at January 29, 2006 10:34 PM