Articles and Analysis


PA: Obama 53, McCain 37 (Muhlenberg-10/11-15)

Topics: PHome

Muhlenberg College
10/11-15/08; 595 LV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 53, McCain 37



The fact that McCain is still campaigning heavy in PA is pretty indicative of total desparation. Obviously the #s in Colorado and VA are looking grim.. (and he can't straddle 2 states over 2000 miles apart). They figure their better and only chance is to somehow flip PA.


NW Patrick:

Yah this makes no sense. VA must be in the bag.



Gotta ask again - What is McCain doing in PA today?


NW Patrick:

Can we ignore Boom today? State polls have been awesome for Obama. When McCain's racking up 30 to 40 point wins in low info red states it's bound to change some tracking #'s. WHO CARES. The fundamentals of the race are right where they've always been. So Obama loses 1 in Rasmussen today. YAY. He gained 1 in Zogby. BOTH of these pollsters are on the WAY WAY CONSERVATIVE side. There are two kinds of pollsters this year folks... some going on "traditional" voter turn out... and just as many believing this will be a break out year for voter turn out and dem advantage. This is why there are SEVERAL polls at 7,8,9, 10, even 14 for Obama and why some are at 3, 4, and 5.
It's simply a difference of method. FACT? Obama is up 3% in the WORST case scenerio. Let me remind you. BUSH won the last election with a 2% lead going into election day. I'm feeling good.



I have never seen a more badly run campaign in my life!! Why McSlime is still wasting time and money in PA is beyond me. This state is way out of reach.

They should be hitting Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, and Missouri. They may also look at preventing an Obama sneak in either GA or MT.

Next thing you'll see is mcSlime campaigning in Chicago while Governor Dimwit camapigns in the Bronx.



Yea.. it finally came to me last night.. I'm thinking.. "why in god's name are they still piddling around in PA?" Then it occur ed to me.. let's say McCain dumps all his resources into FL and OH, or has to do a whirlwind tour of eroding Republican strongholds like NC, WV, MO, and NV. How can he do that? If he pours everything into shoring up these states, VA and CO are still on the chopping block and he loses. At this point there's not much more he can do but hope like hell FL, OH, and the "traditional" red sates (outside of CO and VA) hold red cause of the Bradley effect, or all undecideds breaking his way, or something. Look at the EVs. 21 in PA. 13 in VA. 9 in CO. Meaning to stretch his dwindling resources thin between 2 states polling out of control against him and 2000+ miles apart, when he can concentrate on one big prize, however unlikely, must be seen as his best shot. It's just wild desperation "put it all on red.. let it ride." and in his position, it might really be his best move.



If VA is in the bag for Obama, McCain is done. Is it even remotely possible that McCain flips PA without winning VA?

So, the tortured logic would be, why campaign in VA, because if you have to campaign in VA, you've lost the election?

I guess it also forces Obama and Biden to spend time in PA.

That said, I think McCain should concentrate his efforts in OH and FL, as he absolutely needs those states to get to 270.



I disagree that McCain should be campaigning in MO, IN, NC. If those states are truly competitive, at least one of FL, OH, VA, and CO will go blue, and he will have lost

He has to do something to change the momentum nationally, hope that polling in MO, IN, and NC reverts back to red, and then try to shore up FL and OH (and VA and CO).

I still don't get the play for PA (other than it keeps Barack in PA, rather than VA), but I can't see any upside for McCain defending, say MO.



The amount of time, money and effort the McCain campaign has wasted in chasing a pipe dream in Pennsylvania is just astounding.

What's really stunning is that the campaign could spend that much time in the state and still not have an economic message that resonates there (e.g. here's where McCain philosophically breaks from Bush/Reagan/Republican economic orthodoxy). At the very least the McCain folks should have been able to use Pennsylvania to gauge what's not working.



The best I can come up with is the following:

Obama has a massive resources advantage. Nothing McCain can do will change the superior ratio of resources Obama can bring to any given state, but if McCain narrows the field of states, then that same ratio will be concentrated in those states, and that means a greater gross disadvantage for McCain in those states.

To illustrate this point with a hypothetical, consider Candidate A with $20M in resources and Candidate B with $10M in resources. Further consider two states, X and Y, of which Candidate A needs to win both. Finally, suppose Candidate B has a far better chance of winning State X than State Y.

The standard logic would be that Candidate B should throw all $10M in State X, since he just needs to win that state and doesn't need State Y. But then Candidate A will throw all $20M in State X as well.

So suppose instead that Candidate B throws $5M in each of State X and State Y respectively, and Candidate A follows suit with $10M in each. Looking just at State X, Candidate B is still being outspent 2:1. But he is now being outspent less in gross: instead of a $10M advantage, now Candidate A only has a $5M advantage. In other words, the $5M Candidate B "wasted" in State Y is causing Candidate A to "waste" even more money in State Y, namely $10M.

There are some potential holes in this theory, but like I said that is the best I cam come up with for an explanation of why McCain might think it is worth keeping the field broad at this point.




Very good explanation. McCain has the short straw in funding, and must try to force Obama to spend money were it is needed least.



I think that Hill, Bill, Joe, and Barack's campaigning in the state is showing up in the numbers. If you notice these numbers are from 10/11-15, it goes back to exactly the days when the big shots were rallying the troops in PA.



I said soon as the clintons hit the battlegrounds the party was over!


Jordan - San Marcos TX:

I think the McCain camp thought that the nastiness that was seen in PA in the primaries (Ed "some people in PA won't vote for a black guy" Rendell and others) would still have an effect today.

We can think Hillary for making PA competitive initially, and we can thank her also for helping put PA back in the bag this fall.



Dude, that X/Y a/b theory doesn't make any sense. The poorer candidate has a 2:1 disadvantage any way you slice it. I don't see how being outspent "less in gross" makes one bit of difference.

Let's talk tournament poker instead. Winner takes all - nothing goes to second place, so there's no point in trying to finish a close second place.

McCain is in his end game, he's short stacked, the blinds are increasing and he simply has to pick a hand at some point and push. His campaign is right that he doesn't stand a chance of winning unless he can push Obama off of Pennsylvania. He is more likely to push Obama off of Pennsylvania than to fight for pots that would stretch him thin and only narrow the margin but not result in victory. Florida and Ohio will have to turn red on their own if McCain is going to win. End of story.


Willem van Oranje:

Or could it be that internal polling shows that the more McCain campaigns in a leaning Republican state, his negatives are increasing and in effect damages his campaign?




There are some hypothetical circumstances in which the gross difference could matter. For example, suppose McCain calculated that in some of these "red" states, he had a default advantage in terms of supporters likely to show up at the polls. Suppose further that roughly for each $N spent by a campaign, an additional supporter would show up at the poll. In such circumstances, the gross difference could matter.

For example, to continue the hypothetical above, suppose Candidate B thought he started off with a 50,000 net default vote advantage in State X, and for each $100 spent, the campaigns would get one more vote (note these numbers are completely for the sake of example).

Now if Candidate B spends all $10M in State X, that would be 100,000 more votes, but Candidate A would be spending $20M, for 200,000 more votes. That is a net -100,000 for Candidate B, and adding the default of +50,000, Candidate B loses by 50,000.

But now suppose Candidate B spends $5M in State X for 50,000 more votes, and Candidate A spends $10M for 100,000 more votes. That is a net -50,000, and adding the default 50,000 that leaves Candidate B with a chance of winning.

By the way, meanwhile what has happened in State Y is that Candidate A has also gotten another 50,000 votes, but by hypothesis that doesn't matter. Generally, in this highly simplified model, money is just equal to votes, and the strategy in question is basically aimed at getting Candidate A to transfer some potential votes from crucial State X to noncrucial State Y.

Again, though, I freely admit there are plenty of possible flaws in this analysis. But it still makes more sense to me than the alternatives.



McCain has said he will not pull resources out of Pennsylvania. His camp still believes they can win in PA. They are courting the wealthy suburbs on Philadelphia to go after conservatives in those areas. The floodgates are wide open in PA and there is no way McCain can shut them by November 4. He will not win PA. Many pundits have said there are several states he needs to pull out of IA, MN, WI, PA, & ME to try to save his campaign, but "my friends" he just doesn't get it.



Looks like Muhlenberg College once again lined up its students and polled them on the presidential election lol..what a joke! Even Gov. Rendell said he doesn't believe Obambo's this far ahead!

I will suggest you obadroids heed the warning of your "Messiah" and don't get too cocky! Right or wrong, Murtha is right about Western PA..but the bad news doesn't stop there..the Scraton and Poconos area doesn't look any better for Obambi either!

So for those of you planning your PA victory in Philly..don't pop the cork just yet! Those bitter rednecks may just have the last word!




How do you explain away the other polls, from more respected pollsters, showing Obama up +10, +12, +15, etc. in PA?

If Obama is up big in New Mexico, then he is up big in Pennsylvania. Period. End of discussion.


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