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  Talk Elections
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  An assessment of Pennsylvania from the 2008 election
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Author Topic: An assessment of Pennsylvania from the 2008 election  (Read 2591 times)
King of Kensington
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« on: August 11, 2018, 09:31:27 pm »

Looking at the book How Barack Obama Won the chapter on PA was particularly striking in how much its prognosis didn't hold up very well...

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CookieDamage
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2018, 12:51:46 am »

Yeah but it's not a looney fringe analysis either. Pennsylvania is NOT a uniformly Midwestern state. The East half is very northeastern and cosmopolitan. Philadelphia is way more similar to New York and Jersey City and definitely Baltimore than it is to Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Erie. Granted, the western half is very midwestern.

And it's very hard if not possible for Democrats to win the non-Pittsburgh western half of the state. Back when Dems were the party of Appalachia, it was easier, but now those voters are republican as hell. Dems would be wise to try and boost turnout in Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Philly, as well as Bucks and Montgomery county and the entire Eastern chunk of PA.

Also, wasn't Hillary's problem a lack of turnout in key urban areas?
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TML
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2018, 01:04:14 am »

Yeah but it's not a looney fringe analysis either. Pennsylvania is NOT a uniformly Midwestern state. The East half is very northeastern and cosmopolitan. Philadelphia is way more similar to New York and Jersey City and definitely Baltimore than it is to Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Erie. Granted, the western half is very midwestern.

And it's very hard if not possible for Democrats to win the non-Pittsburgh western half of the state. Back when Dems were the party of Appalachia, it was easier, but now those voters are republican as hell. Dems would be wise to try and boost turnout in Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Philly, as well as Bucks and Montgomery county and the entire Eastern chunk of PA.

Also, wasn't Hillary's problem a lack of turnout in key urban areas?


What cost Hillary in 2016 was a massive shift toward Trump in northeastern PA (20+%). If this shift had been about half of what it actually was, PA would have stayed D.
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2018, 06:43:29 am »

Yeah but it's not a looney fringe analysis either. Pennsylvania is NOT a uniformly Midwestern state. The East half is very northeastern and cosmopolitan. Philadelphia is way more similar to New York and Jersey City and definitely Baltimore than it is to Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Erie. Granted, the western half is very midwestern.

And it's very hard if not possible for Democrats to win the non-Pittsburgh western half of the state. Back when Dems were the party of Appalachia, it was easier, but now those voters are republican as hell. Dems would be wise to try and boost turnout in Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Philly, as well as Bucks and Montgomery county and the entire Eastern chunk of PA.

While quite an oversimplification, I'm reminded of what James Carville said of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburg and Alabama in between.
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Comrade Funk
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2018, 08:04:24 am »

Most of that is true.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2018, 09:16:42 am »

Yeah but it's not a looney fringe analysis either. Pennsylvania is NOT a uniformly Midwestern state. The East half is very northeastern and cosmopolitan. Philadelphia is way more similar to New York and Jersey City and definitely Baltimore than it is to Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Erie. Granted, the western half is very midwestern.

And it's very hard if not possible for Democrats to win the non-Pittsburgh western half of the state. Back when Dems were the party of Appalachia, it was easier, but now those voters are republican as hell. Dems would be wise to try and boost turnout in Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Philly, as well as Bucks and Montgomery county and the entire Eastern chunk of PA.

Also, wasn't Hillary's problem a lack of turnout in key urban areas?


Or a Midwestern state at all.
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PragmaticPopulist
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2018, 10:20:13 am »

The analysis was correct at the time. The state has changed since then.

First off, the Democratic registration edge has declined, particularly in the west and northeast. Second, the state continues to grow slower than the rest of the country.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2018, 01:59:42 pm »

Pennsylvania isn't Midwestern but it's not "Northeast liberal" either.
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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2018, 03:37:03 pm »

As an aside, Philly is a weirdly insular metro area. It's growing more slowly than all other metro areas of its size (I guess except Chicago), and in my experience, most of the migration it's experiencing is from within the ACELA corridor/Eastern PA area. It's not a cosmopolitan magnet the same way that places like DC and NYC are. I wonder if that's part of why so many people overestimated how much it would carry the state in 2016.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2018, 01:39:32 am »

The account in the OP suggests Pennsylvania is a highly educated state that distinguishes it from the "industrial Midwest" (I guess the exit polls disproportionately sampled college graduates in big numbers? But the percentage of college graduates is below the national average, which distinguishes it from the rest of the Northeast.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2018, 09:11:14 am »

Pennsylvania isn't Midwestern but it's not "Northeast liberal" either.

Well, sure ... but it's still "Northeastern."  This is the problem with political junkies talking about geography (or anything, for that matter) - they just can't remove politics from the conversation.  Cook County, IL (Chicago and some inner suburbs) voted 74% for Hillary Clinton.  Woodford County, IL (fairly wealthy exurban Peoria) voted 68.0% for Donald Trump.  Both are 110% nothing but Midwestern.  Their political differences just simply cannot be explained through geography, and that is the end of the story.  Nobody in Pennsylvania would identify as "Midwestern" just because they have differences with other folks in the region known as the Northeast.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2018, 09:56:35 am »

^ Agreed.  Northeastern is not synonymous with Northeastern elite (just as "rust belt" isn't synonymous with the Midwest).
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Karpatsky
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2018, 10:48:51 am »

^ Agreed.  Northeastern is not synonymous with Northeastern elite (just as "rust belt" isn't synonymous with the Midwest).

Midwest =~= Rust Belt + Corn Belt
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2018, 12:46:26 pm »

^ Agreed.  Northeastern is not synonymous with Northeastern elite (just as "rust belt" isn't synonymous with the Midwest).

Agreed on most points, though I have to laugh at the notion that the Northeast is "elite" in some real sense. Tongue
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J. J.
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2018, 02:38:08 pm »

One thing that I noticed was that turnout was higher in 2016 than 2012, particularly in Philadelphia.   

I'm not convinced that the Democrats have to boost turnout.

 
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2018, 04:07:35 pm »

One thing that I noticed was that turnout was higher in 2016 than 2012, particularly in Philadelphia.   

I'm not convinced that the Democrats have to boost turnout.

 

A close look at the 2012 and 2016 numbers says the same thing.

   Hillary Clinton   Timothy Kaine   Democratic   584,025   82.30%
   Donald J. Trump   Michael R. Pence   Republican   108,748   15.32%

   Barack H. Obama   Joseph R. Biden, Jr.   Democratic   588,806   85.24%
   Willard Mitt Romney   Paul Ryan   Republican   96,467   13.97%

Hillary only lost 4,800 votes compared to Obama in Philly

Trump gained 12,000 votes compared to Romney in Philly.



Also, wasn't Hillary's problem a lack of turnout in key urban areas?

Not in Philly, see above.


The article is full of bad analysis and there was and is a genuine failure to understand how PA politics was evolving at the time or even subsequently, which has produced many a table pounding response from myself going back a decade or more. They kept harping on the fact that Philly burbs were the decisive area and they were getting more Democratic, so the GOP could never, ever win (#analysis). The problem is, this is wrong. The Philly suburbs were not decisive and have not been for a long time. While they were getting more Democratic, Republicans were gaining ground elsewhere, even in 2008. The decisive areas are the Harrisburg metro, Lehigh Valley, NE and NW parts of the state. Obama destroyed McCain in these areas and McCain failed in his blue collar strategy, look at the map for 2008 in PA. Between the economy and the war, there was no way McCain could win Luzerne, tie in Lackawanna or win Erie County, so yes his path was blocked obviously. McCain was also a poor candidate to pull this off because of his positions on the very wedge issues that would have broke these voters off from their Casey Democrat ancestral voting (foreign policy, immigration, trade and energy).

Most of the mid 2000s "analysis" involves the GOP retracing their steps back to being able to win moderate, fiscally conservative suburbs like the Philly suburbs. The problem is politics does not work that way, especially when the Democrats are doubling down on their strategy since the 1990's of winning over these former Republicans as a hold over until their children start voting (will come back to these children later on). Politics actually tends to follow certain laws of physics, if you go all in on the environment, guess where the coal miners and loggers go? If you go all in on social liberalism, guess where the pro-lifers all go? This is how the two parties have always evolved, it is the 200 year old dance of death, and most of these people with their #analysis expect the equivalent of stepping on the other's toes. It doesn't work like that.

Children of these voters, solidify and make permanent trends their parents started as "angry defectors". Boomers solidified the South as Republican, after their parents started to defect from the New Deal Coalition. Millennials are solidifying these places like NOVA. They see no attachment or legacy of Republicanism to work against such a move and their economic interests aren't benefited by the next Reagan cutting their taxes, but by Bernie Sanders coming in and forgiving their student loans.

When you old path becomes untenable, you find the path of least resistance and the one requiring the least change by which to reach victory. There are dozens of articles just like this one from the period, that sounds ridiculous today because it failed to comprehend this. If for no other reason we should know better now, because of how Trump got elected.

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J. J.
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2018, 06:41:07 pm »


It used to be said the key for Democrats was to win the east (Philadelphia) and west (Pittsburgh) and concede the middle.  But the east has grown a lot bigger than just the Philadelphia area and now Obama has shown how a Democrat can simply run up huge margins in the entire eastern half of the state and win statewide.  Republicans aren't going to win statewide any time soon if they don't start
making up for lost ground in the suburbs.  In fact, this McCain deficit in the Philadelphia suburbs was mirrored in suburban communities across the country; it wasn't just concentrated in Pennsylvania.


I will add this, in term of percentage of the vote, John McCain did slightly better in Philadelphia than Trump did. 

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King of Kensington
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2018, 06:52:57 pm »

It's worth noting that Trump won Upstate NY as well, so Pennslyvania going GOP doesn't make it Midwestern.  But compared to NY or NJ, it has a larger white working class.
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TML
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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2018, 01:04:26 am »

It's worth noting that Trump won Upstate NY as well, so Pennslyvania going GOP doesn't make it Midwestern.  But compared to NY or NJ, it has a larger white working class.

If you're talking about geographic coverage, then yes, Trump won upstate.

However, if you're talking about raw vote totals for counties north of Bronx County, then no, Hillary actually won by less than 2%.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2018, 01:51:48 am »

I'm not including Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties in Upstate.
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Kevin
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« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2018, 05:26:59 am »

Looking at the book How Barack Obama Won the chapter on PA was particularly striking in how much its prognosis didn't hold up very well...

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Where can I find this book/article?
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2018, 11:16:53 am »

I have a copy of the book but it's also on Google books.
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Neither Holy Nor Roman 👁️
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2018, 10:13:11 am »

There is still a big difference between PA and the midwest, which is why Trump stomped in Ohio, but only narrowly won PA.
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J. J.
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2018, 02:17:24 pm »

There is still a big difference between PA and the midwest, which is why Trump stomped in Ohio, but only narrowly won PA.

And perhaps a difference between Ohio and the Upper Midwest.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2018, 10:43:13 pm »

From the 2016 exit polls:

$100,000+ household income

New York 55-38 Clinton
Pennsylvania  52-45 Trump

White, college graduate

New York  53-43 Clinton
Pennsylvania  48-48 tie

White, no degree

New York  62-33 Trump
Pennsylvania  64-32 Trump

So the WWC didn't vote that differently between these two Northeastern states, but college graduates and the affluent didn't vote that differently.  More important though is the much larger WWC proportion in Pennsylvania.
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