Obama's Problems in Pennsylvania Mirror His Problems in Ohio
Jim Geraghty, reporting at The Campaign Spot on National Review Online, breaks down Obama's problems connecting with voters in Pennsylvania:
Over on the home page, I take a look at Barack Obama's efforts in Pennsylvania. His team has been making an effort in getting independents and whatever "Obamacans" remain registered as Democrats; but overall, the sense is that the message is falling flat.(emphasis added)
Obviously, I'd recommend you read the whole thing — but two points that raised my eyebrows. One, it's not unthinkable that out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Obama could end up winning... one. He'll win Philadelphia, but Pittsburgh's Democrats are not his ideal kind of Democrats. Maybe Obama will win the county that includes Penn State University, and maybe some of the Philly suburbs will be close. But most of the Democrats in the rest of the state are white, Catholic, elderly, union members, working class — all the demographics that elude Obama's appeal.
Second, in a state with all of those key demographics, why is Obama touting himself as a political reformer who passed tough ethics laws? If Obama loses in Pennsylvania by a wide margin, the crisis won't be the loss itself; it will be the revelation that Obama still couldn't figure out how to appeal to those demographics, even with six weeks to prepare, in one state.
Geraghty's full piece on Obama's problems in Pennsylvania (also linked in the excerpt above) can be read here.
More anecdotal evidence of Obama's problems in Ohio: Sarah's 82-year-old-lifelong-union-Democrat grandmother. The other day while we were at her house for Easter dinner, Sarah's grandmother mentioned that she had never voted for a Republican in her life (and I assume this includes Reagan), but that she thought she might vote that way this November.
Now, this is a woman who detests Republicans in general and George W. Bush in particular. She regularly bemoans the state of Ohio's economy. She's a very patriotic woman who just lost her WWII vet husband a couple of months ago, but who is nonetheless very angry over the 4000 American dead in the Iraq War, and thankful for the continued safety of her 2 grandsons that have served in Iraq. After 8 years of a Republican in the White House, she's ready for a change.
So, in a year in which the Republicans are ripe to be thrown out on their arses, and when the 2 Democrat candidates are promising "change", what does Sarah's grandmother do? She's extolling the virtues of John McCain, who she called "a real American hero who, through his sacrifice in Vietnam, has proved that he loves his country". (I think she was a little surprised at my antipathy toward McCain, and that she, a lifelong Democrat, is more favorably inclined toward McCain than I am.)
This lady is the demographic with whom Hillary! is doing well, and with whom Obama must do well if he is to win in November. But this is also a demographic for whom McCain apparently holds a great deal of appeal.