The state where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written still holds a strong voice every election day. Pennsylvanians are steadfastly independent – and yes, many cling to their guns, their God, and their heritage with pride. It is a swing state, like Missouri, largely because it has two dependably Democratic cities separated by an unpredictable countryside strewn with farmers and small businesses.
My Pennsylvania Rasmussen disclaimer: In 2004, Rasmussen Reports polling showed Kerry leading Bush in Pennsylvania by two, 49% to 47%. Kerry won by two, 51% to 49%. In the 2006 Pennsylvania governor’s race, Rasmussen polling showed Rendell defeating Lynn Swan by 18, 56% to 38%. Rendell won by 20, 60% to 40%. In the race for US Senate, Rasmussen polling showed Bob Casey defeating Rick Santorum 55% to 42%. Casey won 59% to 41%, the only race to finish outside the margin of error. In Pennsylvania during the 2008 campaign, Rasmussen Reports polling showed Obama winning the state by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama won 55% to 44%.
Things got off to shady start when it became obvious to the White House that Pennsylvanians were fed up with Arlen Specter’s political opportunism, and tried to buy-off retired Vice Admiral Joe Sestak from opposing Mr Specter in the Democratic US Senate primary. Mr Sestak demurred and beat Mr Specter 53% to 47% for the nomination last May. That victory gave Mr Sestak, a sitting US Representative, a bounce from a 2-point deficit to Mr Toomey, a US House Member from 1999 to 2005, to a 4-point lead. That evaporated within the month, and Mr Toomey surged to a 45%-38% lead, where the race remains today. Six percent (6%) prefer another candidate and 10% are still undecided.
In Pennsylvania, as nationwide, a majority of voters favor repeal of ObamaCare (61%), while 35% oppose repeal. This is a bit higher than support for repeal nationwide and includes 46% who Strongly Favor it and 24% who are Strongly Opposed. 71% of the group that Strongly Favors repeal support Toomey (32.66%), while 77% of those Strongly Opposed to repeal back Sestak (18.48%). Also following national trends, 58% of voters in the Keystone State favor a law like Arizona’s anti-infiltration law, while 32% oppose such a law. Mr Toomey gets the majority support of those who favor the law cracking down on infiltrators, and Mr Sestak win most of the votes of those who oppose a law like Arizona’s.
20% of Pennsylvania voters hold a Very Favorable opinion of Toomey, while 12% view him Very Unfavorably. Sestak is viewed Very Favorably by 19% and Very Unfavorably by 18%. Toomey picks up 76% of the Republican vote, while Sestak earns 63% support from voters in his party. Reflecting Admiral Sestak’s attractive candidacy (he has run an honest and honorable campaign), he is one of the few Democrats nationwide to hold a modest lead among Independents.
I’m listing Pennsylvania as a Toss Up at this point, but could go either way – the wild card here is Governor Ed Rendell, who is desperately trying to get Washington to something, anything, for small business. He recognizes the dissatisfaction of small business owners with the administration’s proclivity toward concentrating power in Washington and paying for it with higher taxes. This is poison for Democrats in the countryside, which is dominated by farms and other small businesses. With his own budget strapped, like most states, he is constantly pleading with the administration to help Democrats in the countryside by helping small business.
If I had to bet at this point, I would bet that Governor Rendell will get no relief from Washington and Pennsylvania will go Republican.
 Rasmussen Reports, Election 2010: Pennsylvania Senate, July 28 2010.