Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Battle for Pennsylvania

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The McCain campaign has looked at DocJess' description of the Obama ground game, and yet has still decided to make a big push for Pennsylvania:

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — People are scratching their heads: Why is Senator John McCain here?

Senator Barack Obama has a double-digit lead in recent Pennsylvania polls. Senator John Kerry beat President Bush here in 2004. The previous three Democratic presidential candidates won, too. And this year there are 1.2 million more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state.

But in these frantic last weeks of the 2008 campaign, Mr. McCain has lavished time and money on this now deep-blue state — he made three stops here on Tuesday — as if his political life depended on it. And, from his campaign’s point of view, it does.

“We need to win Pennsylvania on Nov. 4, and with your help — with your help — we’re going to win!” Mr. McCain shouted to the crowd in his first appearance of the day, at a manufacturing plant in Bensalem, north of Philadelphia, where he said that Mr. Obama would raise their taxes and was too untested to handle an international crisis.

Mr. McCain’s strategists insisted that the state and its 21 electoral votes were within reach and crucial to what they acknowledge is an increasingly narrow path to victory. They say that their own polls show Mr. McCain only seven or eight percentage points behind Mr. Obama. (The state polls that show Mr. Obama with a double-digit lead, all conducted in recent weeks, include surveys by Marist, Quinnipiac, Rasmussen, SurveyUSA and The Allentown Morning Call.)
Obviously the odds are way against him, but he may have no other choice. Let's look at the latest polling trends:

And here's the Muhlenberg tracking poll:

Note that McCain has gained 5 points in the last five days. Susquehanna also has the race at +8, the first lead under 10 points for Obama since September. The McCain team must see a similar tightening in their own polling.

We''ll update when the new polling data comes out today.