The new Philadelphia Inquirer poll revealed the shocking statistic that 35% of Pennsylvania voters who watched the Republican convention came away less likely to vote for Mitt Romney.
The poll found that President Obama has opened up a 50%-39% lead on Romney in Pennsylvania. Obama has gained three points in approval, and lost six points in disapproval for a net nine point swing. Obama now has a 56%-40% favorable/unfavorable rating in the state, compared to net (-2) 46%/48% for Romney. The president also has the support of more of his own party. Seventy seven percent of Democrats support Obama, but only 71% of Republicans support Romney. In fact, more Republicans are supporting Obama (18%) than Democrats are supporting Romney (13%).
The most shocking part of the poll is the amount of damage the Republican convention did to Mitt Romney. Thirty five percent of those who watched the Republican convention came away less likely to vote for Romney. Only 26% came away more likely to vote for the Republican nominee. In contrast, 38% of those who watch the Democratic convention came away more likely to vote for President Obama, and only 22% said the convention made them less likely to vote for the president.
For those of you who are wondering, the state’s voter ID law is well known. Eighty percent of those polled responded that they are very familiar with the new law. Forty one percent said that they are very familiar. The voter ID law is also very popular. Sixty five percent of Pennsylvanians support the new law. Eighty five percent of Republicans, seventy two percent of Independents, and 51% of Democrats support the new law.
As a Pennsylvanian, there is an important point that must be made about the national coverage of the state’s voter ID law. While the media has done a great job educating people about the law, many of them have also slipped into panic and fear mongering. Too much of the coverage has been about how many people might not be able to vote, a statistic which in itself too often gets based on the flawed assumption that 750,000-1 million Democrats will be disenfranchised. The reality is that while Democrats will take most of the hit, elderly rural Republicans especially in the “T” part of the state could be impacted by this law.
My biggest complaint is that every time someone like Ed Schultz squawks that the Republicans are going to steal Pennsylvania, without providing a solution, he may actually be hurting the efforts of the people on the ground here to help voters get their IDs. The fear mongering by some in the media could actually aid the voter suppression efforts of Republicans by making some voters feel like if their vote won’t count, why bother getting an ID?
It is important to both highlight the problem, and provide voters with the information that they need in order to get their ID. If you are a Pennsylvanian who is registered to vote, but you do not have identification, click this link for the forms and information that you will have to bring with you to the Driver License Center. If you live in the state, or have family/friends in the state, click the above link to get the information and forms that they will need if they don’t have ID.
Registered voters who lack ID can obtain a voting ID by providing their name, address, Social Security number, and proof of residency at the Driver License Center. If you live in the state, and have a car, round up a few friends and neighbors who don’t have ID, and give them a ride to your local Driver License Center.
The truth is that the Romney campaign has pretty much pulled out of Pennsylvania. The Romney super PAC ads are also starting to vanish. As this poll indicates, Romney’s collapse in the state started weeks ago during the Republican convention.
Voter suppression will only be able to tip the state towards Romney if the Republican is competitive. Right now, Romney isn’t competitive in Pennsylvania. If we apply even the highest potential percentage of suppressed votes (9%) to the state, Obama still leads by 2 points.
But in order to ensure that Pennsylvania isn’t taken away from Obama, we all need work to make sure that the percentage of people impacted by the voter ID law is closer to 1% than 9%. Fear mongering on voter ID is not enough. Republicans can only suppress the vote and win if we allow them to do.
Romney’s collapse in Pennsylvania may be so complete that there isn’t enough voter suppression out there to save him. His decline began with the Republican convention, and it will end with vigilant Pennsylvanians and Americans working together to defeat the Republicans effort to suppress the vote in the Keystone State.