02 November 2012

Romney / Ryan to campaign in Pennsylvania




It is being reported from multiple sources that Romney and Ryan will be campaigning in Pennsylvania on the last weekend before election day:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/11/01/romney-to-campaign-in-pennsylvania-on-sunday/

http://www.thedaily.com/article/2012/11/01/110112-news-campaign-penn/

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/332231/romney-ryan-campaign-pa-weekend-katrina-trinko#

"Then there is the pessimistic take, which I’m afraid I’m leaning toward right now: the Romney campaign is very, very concerned about Ohio and is trying to come up with a way to win without Ohio. Pennsylvania has 18 electoral votes (Ohio has 20), and if Romney won that state, but lost Ohio, he might well get to the 270. Ohio, too, isn’t budging, despite the amount of energy the Romney campaign has spent there; perhaps they’re hoping that in Pennsylvania, voters will prove more persuadable."

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Ok, so what does this all mean? Well, I am all for Romney campaigning in Pennsylvania. It will probably turn out to be fool's gold for him, but every minute he spends there is a minute he cannot spend in Ohio or Nevada or Iowa or Colorado or Virginia.

Actually, I am a big fan of huge parts of the country being highly competitive, instead of just 8 states or so. Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear of Democratic candidates going gung-ho at rallies in Nashville, TN and Republicans braving the cold of Maine to try to move that state? Actually, it would be very, very good for our country to get out of the "trifecta" (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida) mentality.

On the other hand, states have electoral histories and they can serve as a guide. And Pennyslvania has an especially interesting electoral history.

In the bio of Pennyslvania that I produced in November of 2011, I wrote some interesting information (especially the "flip" table):


PA and Incumbents


Like 
RI and MI, Pennsylvania has rewarded incumbents who won re-election in percentage, but the „State minus Natl's“ (Partisan Value, or TREND) is all over the board. For both incumbents who LOST re-election in recent history (Bush 41, Carter), the Partisan Value (or TREND against the National) was actually in favor of the losing party:



President - PAYear / MarginYear / MarginState ShiftNational Shift:State minus Nat'l
FDR
1932 / +5.51
1936 / +16.04
+21.55
+6.49
+15.06
FDR
1936 / +16.04
1940 / +6.89
-9.15
-14.30
+5.15
FDR
1940 / +6.89
1944 / +2.78
-4.11
-2.46
-1.65
Eisenhower
1952 / +5.88
1956 / +13.19
+7.31
+4.55
+2.76
Nixon1968 / +3.57
1972 / +19.98
+23.55
+22.98
+0.57
Carter
1976 / +2.66
1980 / +7.11
-9.77
-11.80
+2.03
Reagan
1980 / +7.11
1984 / +7.35
+0.24
+8.48
-8.24
Bush 41
1988 / +2.32
1992 / +9.02
-11.34
-13.29
+1.95
Clinton
1992 / +9.02
1996 / +9.20
+0.18
+2.96
-2.78
Bush 43
2000 / -4.17
2004 / -2.50
+1.67
+2.98
-1.31
Obama 
2008 / +27.81
2012 / ???
???
???
???

Redshading = GOP pick-up
Blueshading = DEM pick-up

To explain this gobbledy gook, the most important value to understand is the “State minus Nation” value, in the right-most column, shaded in grey. 
If it is a positive number, then this is good for that incumbent.Unlike RI and MI, where most of the “State minus National”numbers are positive, PA is a mixed-bag of results.


From the table above (in posting number 1), we see two very popular incumbents who were re-elected, where the actual margin in PA barely shifted upward:

Reagan went from 
+7.11% in 1980 to +7.35% in 1984 (a shift of just +0.24%), while his national margin SOARED from +9.74% to18.22% (a shift of +8.48%). For this reason, a negative value (-8.24).
Very similarly, Bill Clinton went from +9.02% in 1992 to +9.20% in 1992 (a shift of just +0.18%), while his national margin rose +2.96%. Again, his trend value is a negative one, but much smaller than that for Reagan, simply because Reagans NPV margin was much more impressive in 1984.

We have seen Pennsylvania flip in re-election campaigns and also in open elections, but there are very important patterns to see, we just need to train the eye to see them. In the last 100 years, Pennsylvania has „flipped“, or been a pick-up state, 10 times.


Pattern 1: In 6 of 10 cycles in which PA flipped to the other side, the losing side won the state by single digits in the cycle before (1916, 1936, 1948, 1972, 1980, 1992, highlighted in yellow):
YEAR
Explanation
1912
1908: Taft (R-inc) +23.43%, flipped to Teddy Roosevelt (I) +4.04% in 1912.
1916
1912: Teddy Roosevelt (I) +4.04%, flipped to Wilson (D-inc) +14.03% in 1916.
1920
1916: Wilson (D-inc) +14.03%, flipped to Harding (R) over Cox (D)+38.56% in 1920.
1936
1932: Hoover (R-inc) +5.51%, flipped to Roosevelt (D) +16.04 in 1936.
1948
1944: Roosevelt (D) +2.78%, flipped to Dewey (R) against Truman (D-inc) +4.01% in 1948.
1960
1956: Eisenhower (R) +13.19% flipped to Kennedy (D) aginst Nixon (R) by +2.32% in 1960.
1972
1968: Humphrey (D) +3.57%, flipped to Nixon (R-inc) +19.98% in 1972.
1976
1972: Nixon (R) +19.98% , flipped to Carter against Ford (R-inc) +2.66% in 1976.
1980
1976: Carter (D-inc) +2.66%, flipped to Reagan +7.11% in 1980.
1992
1988: Bush, Sr. (R-inc) +2.32%, flipped to Clinton +9.02% in 1992.


Pattern 2: in 6 cycles, 3 + 3, the state flipped three times in a row, back and forth, with at least one „loner“ flip cycle many years apart from the rest:
1912-1916-1920
1936 (16 years apart)
1948 (12 years apart, both back and forth)
1960 (12 years apart, both back and front)
1972-1976-1980
1992 (12 years apart)
As of 2012, 20 years will have passed since PA last „flipped“. Logically, if this pattern of historical precedent were to have held, then historically, PA should have flipped in 2004 or 2008, but this was not the case. WE can also consider that, at some point in time,when PA does „flip“, it will most likely flip 3 times in a row, as it did twice in the last century.



Third pattern: you have to go back 100 years in history, back to 1912, to find a case where an incumbent President won Pennsylvania by double digits in his first election and lost the state in his re-election, namely, Taft 1908-1912. Obama won PA with a double digit margin in 2008. The difference is that Taft lost his re-election in PA and nationally in 1912 in good part due to a challenge within his own party from his predecessor, former President Theodore Roosevelt, a man with unbelievable popularity. When the intra-party challenge failed, Roosevelt launched a third party bid and ended up being the second party ticket in the election. Most historians agree, had Roosevelt not challenged Taft via third party run, then the GOP may still have lost the election in 1912, who knows for sure, but would most likely have retained many of its core states like PA. This is not the case with Obama in 2012: there is no challenge from within the Democratic party to President Obama and at least as of this time, there is no third party on the horizon for 2012.


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So, yes, Romney COULD flip Pennsylvania, but there is little precedent for him to do it. See: pattern 3.

Plus, Romney is coming awfully late to the game now. He should have been working the Keystone State the entire time.

And, Pennsylvania has a slightly more Democratic voting history overall than Ohio and has almost always stood higher in the Democratic partisan rankings than Ohio:


The partisan rankings for Ranking 20 (Pennsylvania) and Ranking 26 (Ohio) compared to each other from 2008 backwards in history to 1964 in Table-format (PA in yellow, OH in green):


Rank2008Margin '082004Margin - 042000Margin '001996Margin '961992Margin '921988Margin '88
11 – 41CT22,37%HI8,74%CA11,80%AR16,94%MN11,63%WA1,59%
12 – 40ME17,32%DE7,59%VT9,94%MN16,14%WA11,44%IL2,08%
13 - 39WA17,08%WA7,18%WA5,58%MD15,99%HI11,40%PA2,32%
14 - 38MI16,44%NJ6,68%MI5,13%DE15,25%MO10,15%MD2,91%
15 - 37OR16,35%OR4,16%ME5,11%WV14,75%OR9,95%VT3,52%
16 - 36NJ15,53%MN3,48%PA4,17%MI13,21%PA9,02%CA3,57%
17 - 35NM15,13%MI3,42%MN2,40%CA12,89%NM8,56%MO3,98%
18 - 34WI13,90%PA2,50%OR0,44%WA12,54%ME8,33%NM4,96%
19 - 33NV12,49%NH1,37%IA0,31%LA12,07%DE8,20%CT5,10%
20 - 32PA10,31%WI0,38%WI0,22%IA10,34%MI7,40%MT5,87%
21 - 31MN10,24%IA0,67%NM0,06%WI10,33%CT6,43%SD6,34%
22 -30NH9,61%NM0,79%FL0,01%NH9,95%IA6,01%CO7,78%
23 - 29IA9,53%OH2,11%NH1,27%PA9,20%TN4,65%MI7,90%
24 - 28CO8,95%NV2,59%MO3,34%OR8,09%LA4,61%LA10,21%
25 - 27VA6,30%CO4,67%OH3,51%NM7,33%WI4,35%OH10,85%
26 - 26OH4,58%FL5,01%NV3,55%OH6,36%CO4,26%ME11,45%
27 - 25FL2,81%MO7,20%TN3,86%MO6,30%KY3,21%KY11,64%
28 - 24IN1,03%VA8,20%AR5,44%FL5,70%NV2,63%DE12,40%
29 - 23NC0,33%AR9,76%AZ6,28%TN2,41%MT2,51%TX12,60%
30 - 22MO0,13%AZ10,47%WV6,32%AZ2,22%NJ2,37%ND13,06%
31 - 21MT2,38%NC12,43%LA7,68%NV1,02%OH1,83%KS13,23%
32 - 20GA5,20%WV12,86%VA8,04%KY0,96%NH1,22%NJ13,64%


Rank1984Margin '841980Margin '801976Margin '761972Margin '721968Margin '681964Margin '64
06 – 46PA7,35%MD2,96%AL13,11%WI9,67%ME12,23%NY37,25%
07 – 45IA7,39%HI1,90%SC13,04%OR10,12%MS40.44%WV35,87%
08 – 44NY8,01%MA0,15%TN13,00%CA13,46%WV8,82%CT35,72%
09 – 43WI9,18%TN0,29%MN12,87%MI14,39%MI6,73%MI33,61%
10 – 42WV10,51%AR0,61%RI11,28%IA17,13%NY5,46%VT32,61%
11 – 41HI11,28%AL1,30%NC11,05%NY17,34%CT5,16%AK31,82%
12 – 40OR12,17%MS1,32%KY7,19%WA18,28%LA20.11%NJ31,75%
13 - 39IL12,88%KY1,46%MD6,07%CT18,44%AL47.13%MD30,94%
14 - 38WA12,97%SC1,53%LA5,78%IL18,52%PA3,57%PA30,22%
15 - 37CA16,25%NC2,12%DE5,41%PA19,98%WA2,11%KY28,36%
16 - 36TN16,27%DE2,33%FL5,28%MT20,08%MD1,64%MO28,10%
17 - 35VT17,11%NY2,67%NY4,43%DE20,41%TX1,27%MN27,76%
18 - 34OH18,76%ME3,36%MO3,63%OH21,56%AR7.64%OR27,75%
19 - 33MI18,99%WI4,72%TX3,17%ME22,98%MO1,13%NH27,28%
20 - 32DE19,85%LA5,45%PA2,66%AK23,51%NJ2,13%TX26,82%
21 - 31MO20,05%VT5,96%HI2,53%MD23,90%OH2,28%OH25,89%
22 -30GA20,39%MI6,49%MS1,88%NM24,49%AK2,64%WA24,59%
23 - 29NM20,48%MO6,81%WI1,68%MO24,59%IL2,92%WI24,35%
24 - 28KY20,66%PA7,11%OH0,27%NJ24,80%CA3,08%IA23,97%
25 - 27NJ20,89%IL7,93%OR0,17%HI24,96%DE3,51%CO23,07%
26 - 26CT21,90%CT9,63%ME0,84%VT26,20%WI3,62%DE22,17%
27 - 25ME22,05%OR9,66%IA1,01%ND26,28%GA12.43%NM18,98%
28 - 24AR22,18%OH10,60%OK1,21%WV27,22%OR6,05%IL18,94%
29 - 23AL22,26%WA12,34%VA1,34%NV27,36%KY6,14%MT18,38%

Notice the parallel movement: PA is yellow, OH is blue. Ohio is always UNDER PA in the partisan rankings, and I doubt that 2012 is going to be any different. If Romney loses Ohio, then he is all but guaranteed to lose PA.




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