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Salena Zito: Pennsylvania - The Tipping Point State

Salena Zito: Pennsylvania - The Tipping Point State

 Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shake hands after the second presidential debate (Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 16 October 2016 09:43 AM

It all comes down to Pennsylvania, specifically the collar counties of Philadelphia.

And right now the Bloomberg Politics poll released Thursday shows Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton besting her Republican rival Donald Trump by 9 percentage points in the Keystone State.

The poll was taken after the second presidential debate last Sunday evening and found that while  Trump's abilities at the town hall stabilized him , voters' sentiments of Trump"s vulgar 2005 video tape disturbed more than half.  

This was especially true in the suburban collar counties of Philadelphia where the number hit a striking 80% disapproval. This four county region includes Montgomery, Delaware, Chester and Bucks counties,  densely populated suburbs known for their ability to swing and determine the outcome of the state. These counties account for 22 percent of the state's total vote and the poll showed Clinton leading Trump there 59 percent to 31 percent.  

It is nearly mathematically impossible to lose Philadelphia's collar counties and win the state because the turnout in the rest of the state would have to increase by 20 percent in each county to counter that population weight.

That sobering uphill battle is why Trump's daughter, Ivanka,  and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, made numerous stops throughout those counties Thursday and Friday of last week in an effort to pump up his sagging support.

The Trump campaign is wise to send Ivanka to suburban areas where she can try to woo moderate voters said Alison Dagnes, a political science professor at Shippensburg University, "Especially the women who were offended by the "Access Hollywood" tape," she said.

"Putting his daughter on the campaign trail helps to stem the bleeding and fix the perception that Donald Trump is a misogynistic groper," she said.

Ivanka Trump is a very competent and successful woman in her own right, which reflects well on Trump as a father said Dagnes, "In fact, during the last debate, when asked to say something nice about their opponent, Hillary Clinton said "I respect his children.""  

"In doing so, she [Clinton] was really talking about Ivanka who has been his most prominent surrogate and perhaps his most effective one," said Dagnes.

Ivanka's more reserved style softens the Trump name with a refined, civilized and sophisticated air and may help him with reluctant voters in the swing collar counties Dagnes said.

In Pennsylvania, generally Democrats enjoy a strong advantage in voter registration where 49 percent of the nearly 9 million registered voters are Democrats, 38 percent are Republicans with the rest a variety of independents and other third party candidates.

In the western part of the state Republicans have led the surge statewide in voters switching parties.

To counter that pitch right,  Democrats have brought in their own big guns to motivate supporters with appearances by First Lady Michelle Obama and Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine in the Pittsburgh area last week.

"While Clinton has strong support in Philadelphia, Trump is outperforming Clinton in the "T" and the western part of the state," said Terry Madonna, political science professor at Franklin and Marshall College.

The problem for Trump is of course the balance of population support against him said Madonna.

On the day after Sunday evening's debate last week Trump made a "soft landing" in Beaver County Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh and then Wilkes-Barre in the Northeast, drawing large crowds among his base supporters.

"Optically it was smart for Trump," said Madonna, "But the real work that has to be done is getting more of his voters out to vote, not just to pep-rallies," he said.

Dave Wasserman political analyst at the Cook Political Report began predicting Pennsylvania would be the tipping-point state last summer – it is the one must watch state to obsess over on Election Night; if either candidate wins there they will likely be the next president of the United States.

Salena Zito covers national politics for Newsmax.


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It all comes down to Pennsylvania, specifically the collar counties of Philadelphia.
salena zito, election, pennsylvania, critical, counties
Sunday, 16 October 2016 09:43 AM
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