With poll numbers narrowing in Pennsylvania during the last month and a half, the most important thing to win the state will be a voter turnout push that appears larger than in 2008, said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).
The coal-producing regions of the state also are thought to be important, he said, with the northeast and southwest parts of the state expected to split the vote again between President Barack Obama and Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.
“The trend lines in most of the battleground states since Hurricane Sandy have been going in President Obama’s direction,” Rendell said. “The trend line in Pennsylvania’s been going in Gov. Romney’s direction. It’s close... That means turnout will have a tremendous say in what happens. The good news for the Obama force is in Philadelphia, where they carried in 2008 with a margin of 478,000 votes, the turnout seems to be matching or, in some places, even exceeding the turnout in 2008.”
Despite regulatory realities, he pointed out that Obama lost 11 of the 12 counties in the southwest part of the state and was not expected to do much better this time.
Rendell said that it’s difficult to point to any one county in the coal regions that could go either way, but he considers it a positive with voters that Romney couldn’t identify any regulations Obama put on the industry that have affected it poorly.
He was not, however, concerned that Catholic voters would be turned off by Obama because while gay marriage isn’t popular with that group, “the vast majority of Catholic women favor what President Obama wants to do and has done.”
Rendell said the economy remained the number one issue for Pennsylvania residents, with women’s issues coming in a close second.
“Of course, the economy’s a big issue for everyone in the country and Pennsylvania was doing well economically,” Rendell said. “The manufacturing jobs that have been created under President Obama are important here because we’re still a manufacturing state. In the Philadelphia suburbs, the women’s issues are going to be very significant. There are a lot of women who might have voted for Gov. Romney – certainly, the Gov. Romney who was governor of Massachusetts – but because of his very conservative stance on women’s issues, he’s going to lose a lot of those voters.”
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