The latest Franklin and Marshall College of registered Pennsylvania voters finds Democrat Barack Obama leading Republican John McCain 44%-36%. The margin is closer among likely voters. Obama leads this group 46%-41%.
In general, each candidate leads with their expected bases. Obama leads with younger voters, non-white voters, college grads, women, and in the city of Philadelphia. McCain leads with Protestants, fundamentalists, and those who live in northeastern and northwestern Pennsylvania. Obama leads with Independents 49%-27%. Seventy seven percent of Pennsylvanians said that the country is heading in the wrong direction, and 37% said that they are economically worse off than they were last year. It is no shock that Obama leads with both of these groups.
Although the recession hasn’t hit all of Pennsylvania quite as hard as other states, the economy is always the top issue in the Keystone state, and 2008 is no different. 43% of those surveyed said that the economy is the issue that will most influence their vote. The bad news for McCain is that 55% of those asked said that McCain will mostly continue Bush’s economic policies. Sixty nine percent of those asked said that their family had suffered some form of economic hardship in the past year, and these people support Obama over McCain 51%-27%.
The biggest problem Obama faces in the state is the experience question. 51% of respondents said that they would be concerned if Obama was elected president. Thirty percent of people in each party cited Obama’s lack of experience as the basis for their concern. Pennsylvania is the second oldest state in the country so one would assume that McCain would have a chance here.
The problem for McCain is that the state is also home to base of older Democrats who are located around the Pittsburgh area. Obama currently leads McCain 50%-30% there. While Pennsylvanians are concerned about Obama’s inexperience, their greater concern is the economy, and McCain’s lack of an economic message is hurting him in the state. Pennsylvania is a state that the Republicans keep fooling themselves into believing that they have a chance at, but they really don’t.
Obama currently leads with all age and income groups in the state. National Republicans keep coming into the state with the wrong economic message, and they keep losing. By this point in time, this really isn’t a surprise. Unless McCain gets a clue about the economy, and the message that Pennsylvanians want to hear, the GOP will lose the state again.