Pennsylvanians know that presidential elections are always a constant battle between the “T” in the middle and northern part of the state and the two cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Usually, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh win, turning the state blue but according to Real Clear Politics, Tuesday could yield a different result as it’s labeled Pennsylvania a toss-up state.
Currently, Hillary Clinton has a four-point lead over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania – 48% to 44% – according to a Monmouth University Poll, falling within the 4.9% margin of error. That’s a 6% decrease from the 10-point lead Clinton had in October. Could it be the latest news from the FBI regarding Clinton that’s the reason for the level playing field? Not according to this poll, which notes that very few voters said the latest news from the FBI changed their minds – only enough to account for a one percentage point shift in the numbers.
Whatever the reason, this shift is significant, as the majority of the scenarios for Trump to get to 270 electoral votes don’t count Pennsylvania as a red state. If it does go red, Trump has a few more paths to 270.
The survey also found a similar scenario for the race between Sen. Pat Toomey and Katie McGinty – showing McGinty with a three-point lead – 47% to 44%. This race is significant – recognized in The Washington Post as “This year’s most consequential Senate race.” The loss of Sen. Toomey’s seat could cost the Republicians the Senate.
A CNN poll released earlier this week showed identical numbers for the presidential race, and similar numbers for the senate race (McGinty +5).
The CNN poll also found that the gap in enthusiasm for the candidates isn’t very high – noting that might be due to the fact that in Pennsylvania there isn’t much enthusiasm, “with fewer than half of voters saying they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for president this year.”
Gee, I wonder why.
What’s the reason behind the toss up status? Could it be that the never-ending string of political ads those of us in Pennsylvania have been seeing for weeks are making an impact? We may never know, but what we do know is that Pennsylvania isn’t a sure bet for Clinton anymore.
Who knew politics in Pennsylvania could actually be exciting – now if only we had a candidate to get excited about.