June 30, 2012


Congressional Democrats' Pennsylvania Problem (STUART ROTHENBERG, JUNE 29, 2012, Rothenburg Report)

But if the southeastern corner of the Keystone State has started to resemble New Jersey and Connecticut, Western Pennsylvania increasingly looks like West Virginia or southeastern Ohio, areas where voters have started to think and behave more like Republicans. This movement of working-class voters toward the GOP has helped offset the partisan trend in the Philadelphia suburbs, keeping Pennsylvania an interesting and competitive state.

Pennsylvania swung wildly between 2006 and 2010, as most of the country did.

Democrats gained a total of five House seats in the Keystone State in the 2006 and 2008 elections -- one-tenth of their total haul. After the '08 elections, Democrats held 12 of the state's 19 Congressional districts. Two years later, the numbers flipped, with Republicans sitting in 12 seats.

Redistricting after the 2010 census, of course, has further changed the state's arithmetic because the GOP-controlled state Legislature made it more difficult for House Democrats to make gains by packing Democratic voters together, including throwing two incumbent Democrats into the same district.

So, while Democrats remain hopeful about retaking the House, Pennsylvania is starting to look like a black hole for them this year. And if the party can't come out of Pennsylvania gaining even a single additional House seat this cycle, there will be extra pressure in states such as Illinois, California and Florida, where redistricting did benefit Democrats, to pick up seats.

Posted by at June 30, 2012 8:19 AM

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