Battleground States

obama mccain pennsylvania, campaign Pennsylvania, presidential election 2008

Battleground States: Pennsylvania

July 25, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
With its diverse voter population and 21 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has become a hotspot for the presidential candidates during this campaign season. It is one of several battleground states in which local races may influence the outcome of national contests.


Guided by Democratic cities Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Erie, Pennsylvania voted for Senator John F. Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by nine percentage points in the state’s Democratic Primary in April of this year. As Pennsylvania is home to “a mix of black and white, old and young, blue-collar workers and service industry employees,” it is therefore considered a “no excuse state.” Spiegel explains, “it’s too important to lightly dismiss as a loss, because it mirrors the country’s sociological center.” Pennsylvania holds 21 electoral votes in the November election.

Key Players

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, formerly one of Hillary Clinton’s strongest supporters, now backs Obama in the November elections. Rendell is a strong proponent of health care reform, tax reform and energy independence. Real Clear Politics points out that Rendell’s strategies in his 2002 primary fight for governorship could serve as an outline for how Obama can win the state—particularly by focusing his efforts on the largest and easternmost counties of Pennsylvania.

Potential Outcomes

Senator John McCain is focusing efforts on Pennsylvania, where Obama lost the Democratic primary, and where the 2004 presidential elections were close. He is using Obama’s statement that working class voters in Pennsylvania are “bitter” as ammunition against his opponent, rallying support by empathizing with voters who value their religion and their Constitution. However a recent surge in Democratic registration indicates that it will not be easy to defeat Obama in the state, which has lost nearly 1,500 Republican voters since the primary. Stay abreast of the latest developments by using Keystone Politics, a blog dedicated to covering Pennsylvania politics.

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