Despite recent polls showing Sen. Pat Toomey trailing Democratic challenger Katie McGinty and Hillary Clinton with a comfortable lead in Pennsylvania, Republicans in the Keystone State increasingly believe Toomey may pull off re-election because of an unprecedented surge in GOP voter registration.
According to figures just released by the Pennsylvania secretary of state, 243,139 voters have become Republicans since November of 2015.
Even more interesting, 97,607 Democrats have switched their registration to Republican since January, while 38,020 Republicans became Democrats.
State GOP Chairman Rob Gleason described the new registration figures to reporters following their release Wednesday.
"Enthusiasm is clearly on the side of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania this year," said Gleason.
The figures became public a week after a Franklin & Marshall College poll showed Democrat McGinty, former chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, leading Toomey 41 percent to 35 percent among likely voters statewide.
"Yes, the latest Trump charges [about alleged crude behavior toward women] could hurt Toomey because of the down ballot effect," F&M professor G. Terry Madonna told Newsmax, "It makes it harder to get voters out and means more efforts to get split tickets down ballot."
Madonna, widely considered the premier pollster in the Keystone State, said Trump's latest storm "will make it really difficult for Trump to carry the state. We need to see the polls next week after the [last] debate."
According to Franklin & Marshall's last survey (conducted before the tape of the GOP nominee making crude remarks 11years ago became public Oct. 7), Hillary Clinton leads Trump in Pennsylvania 47 percent to 38 percent among likely voters. The same survey showed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson drawing 5 percent in Pennsylvania.
One county in which Toomey should perform exceptionally well is Fayette County in Western Pennsylvania. Much like the rest of the state, historically Democratic Fayette has experienced a big change in voter registration since the beginning of the year: Republican voters jumping from 22,000 to 30,000 countywide, and Democrats dropping from 80,000 to 74,000.
"Part of the reason for the change is Trump," GOP County Chairman Dave Show told Newsmax, predicting that the presidential hopeful "will win at least 80 percent of the vote in Fayette."
As to whether Toomey will benefit from this change among the voters, Show said, "Toomey should benefit but he needs to hit much harder against McGinty. If voters know she worked for Al Gore in Washington and Tom Wolf here, if they know she's against fracking and agrees with Hillary Clinton that the coal industry has to go, he could sweep Fayette. But his campaign needs to get the word out."
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