Obama, Casey Hold Large Leads in Pennsylvania

Obama2-webLast night’s Democratic loss in Wisconsin was a huge blow for liberals and public sector unions (and probably those still in denial about the impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision), but finding a parallel to Pennsylvania might be a little tough.

Because in most statewide elections here, the Demcorat seems to be crushing it—for now. According to a recently released Franklin and Marshall poll, Democratic Senator Bob Casey leads his challenger, Republican Tom Smith by 21 points, even though 35 percent are still undecided. But of those undecided, 19 percent say they’re leaning Casey, while only 10 percent say Smith, which tells us something about party affiliation in Pennsylvania.

Smith essentially came out of nowhere in April’s GOP primary to win the nomination, even though that race was a bore and garnered little attention throughout the state. Smith, a Democrat until 2010, had the most money of all the candidates, including party-backed Steve Welch, and was able to run the most commercials—in which the bulldog-voiced narrator referred to him as “conservative Republican Tom Smith.”

That snoozefest of a primary didn’t do anyone too well. According to the same poll, 77 percent of respondents have no opinion of Smith. His name ID, after a crowded primary and television commercials, is virtually nothing. Which is the opposite for Bob Casey, whose family has a long history in Pennsylvania politics. That being said, Casey’s quiet time Senatorial attitude means only 38 percent of voters believe he’s done a “excellent” or “good” job—compared with 40 percent who say “only a fair job” or “poor job.”

The conservative Commonwealth Foundation, which does not support individual candidates, put out a release this morning regarding the Wisconsin election. Their jubilation is obvious and they believe the anti-union win there could have an impact here.

“Let there be no doubt that the tidal wave of freedom coming from Wisconsin will be warmly felt here in the Keystone State.  The message for Pennsylvania politicians is clear:  Voters reward leaders who strike at the root of out-of-control government spending, high taxes that kill jobs, rising debt that burdens the next generation and schools where kids don’t learn but do get hurt,” noted President and CEO Matthew J. Brouilette.

But the Romney campaign, which supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s recall election, seems to be thinking otherwise. They’ve opened just one office in the entire state, compared to Obama’s 22. And voters haven’t moved much on Romney’s prospects to turn this presidential blue state red. Obama leads Romney by a 12-point margin, 48 percent to 36 percent, in the same Franklin and Marshall poll mentioned above. Similarly, Democratic Attorney General candidate Kathleen Kane holds a wide, healthy margin over her Republican challenger, Dave Freed.

And while Obama is only favored by 46 percent of voters in the state, Romney’s numbers are much worse: 27 percent of us have a positive view of the former Massachusetts governor. Amongst Pennsylvanians, Obama leads Romney in almost every category: foreign policy, the “concerns of ordinary Americans,” abortion, gay marriage (what?), and the economy.

The poll also found Pennsylvanians by and large (79 percent) do not want their human services cut. That’s on you, Gov. Corbett.

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