Monthly Archives: May 2007

PA Polling Extravaganza: Rudy Rules PA; Gore Dem Savior?

Recent polling in Pennsylvania confirms some of what I said yesterday, and also muddies the waters a bit.  Giuliani’s strength has slipped in Southeastern PA, but he still remains the dominant presidential candidate in our Commonwealth.  Pennsylvania’s leading paper in presidential converage, The Allentown Morning Call, had a poll yesterday.  It does look like there’s some pro-McCain spinning going on, though.  Analysis from the paper is here, the poll internals are here [PDF].  A poll from Quinnipiac that came out today tells us pretty much the same thing.

The Morning Call poll of all voters shows GOP candidates McCain and Giuliani show very well against potential democrat nominees for president.  While Giuliani’s strength is greater, and has a longer track record, McCain’s strength gets equal billing in the analysis to which I linked despite its inconsistency.

The most interesting thing about this poll, though, is what it does not bother to track:  How well Romney does in potential match-ups against democrats in Pennsylvania.  You see, Romney was running behind Newt and Fred Thompson back in late March, and he’s still sucking wind in PA as we shall see.

This is because when it comes to the relative strength of candidates in their party’s primaries Quinnipiac’s poll has more good news for Team Giuliani.  It also has news likely to cause indigestion among democrats.  Of course, this exercise remains purely academic as our General Assembly– and former and current Governors– remain uninterested in graciously extending to us a national franchise.

Should PA move its primary up and become relevant, though, Team Giuliani would be very happy.  He has opened up a lead to almost three times that of the rest of the field.  He garnered 28 points in the poll, with McCain, Romney, Thompson, and Newt clustered within the margin of error between 8-11 apiece.

So when it comes to Pennsylvania, Giuliani remains the clear leader among Republicans, and beats all current potential democrat nominees.  It is of some interest to note previously Giuliani beat Clinton in the southeast Philadelphia suburbs, but not Obama.  Currently, both Obama and Clinton beat Giuliani in this region.  This is not a good indicator, and merits further attention as a potential canary in the mine.

But you know the Democrat that shows the strongest in potential general election match-ups?  That’s right, dear hearts, it’s Al Gore!  My, it would be fun if he tried a Nixon from the wilderness maneuver.  And don’t fool yourselves, he may try.  It seems in PA his enviro-cred picks up votes from the GOP upstate.  It also may not hurt that he’s from Tennessee and much of Pennsylvania is functionally Southern.

This is confirmed by the fact that he ranks second in a potential democrat primary, and he’s not even running.  Those types of numbers certainly persuaded Fred Thompson to take a crack at running, and he’s merely a former senator of the more disinterested breed.  Gore actually won the popular vote for president a few years ago.

The takeaway from all this polling, though, is the song remains the same.  Pennsylvania Republicans love Rudy Giuliani, and it appears he definitely has the best chance of beating any democrat in a general election.  Why?  You can all say it with me this time:  Because Giuliani sincerely happens reflect the general electorate on a wide range of issues.  It’s just that simple.

Chester County, PA = USA

The Philadelphia suburbs, in case y’all didn’t know, are the key to winning statewide and Federal elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Remember James Carville’s famous quip about PA?  “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle.”

What this means is Democrats can be expected to win the urban areas, and Republicans can be expected to win the rural areas.  The counties surrounding Philadelphia, then, are generally the deciding factor.  These counties used to trend for the GOP.  Not so much anymore.  Exhibit one is the fact Governor Ed Rendell recently garnered around 70% of the vote in these counties against the half-hearted competition of Lynn Swann.  More distressing is the trouncing Rick Santorum recently took against Bob Casey.  Those numbers are detailed by yours truly here.

I mention all this again because G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young had a piece yesterday in The Morning Call pointing out how this trend is bad news for the GOP nationally, and PA may be slipping into a solidly blue state.

[note to Inquirer and Daily News:  The Allentown Morning Call is continuing to kick your big paper ass in presidential election coverage and commentary]

What Madonna and Young do not discuss are the most recent Pennsylvania presidential polls from Quinnipiac University.  [UPDATE:  New Quinnipiac polls were coming out at the time of this post’s composition] What they show is not that the Philadelphia suburbs are turning solidly blue, but that they are purple.  Rudy Giuliani is the only potential GOP candidate who shows well against Democrats here, beating all potential democrat nominees except for Obama, with whom the race would be within the margin of error.

This is because Giuliani has a strong record as a fiscal and law and order conservative, but also a Federalist agenda on potentially divisive social issues.  This is why Giuliani can win Pennsylvania.  And I think this is the most untold story of the presidential race so far:  Giuliani polls well because his positions happen to be the same as the bulk of the American electorate.  It is just that simple.  What plays well in Chester County, Pennsylvania also plays well all over the country.

Ridge/McCain Say “Shut Up & Do What I Say”

Mitt Romney will be coming through Philadelphia next week, attempting to ride his recent momentum and rake in some Main Line money.  Alas, he will find a nice poll in Iowa means nothing here in Pennsylvania.  Also, Tom Ridge was recently pimping for Amnesty McCain in Harrisburg.  [HT Josh]

In fact, the well-liked former Governor implied he was okay with the fact his own home state is an electoral phosphene in the presidential primary, shrugging off his preferred candidate’s weakness in his own backyard saying “For the time being, the polls in Pennsylvania are what they are. We’re focused on the polls in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, and Rudy would like to have our kind of numbers there.”

Well, does that sound to you like someone who has the best interests of our Commonwealth at the top of his agenda?  Me neither.  Even running for Veep makes politicians compromise their values, despite the fact the job has been described as not even worth “a pitcher of warm piss“.

I make note here of why the polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will not matter much for Team Giuliani this cycle.  Long story short:  Immediately after those primaries California and New York will have their primaries.  If Giuliani can’t win those states he has no business running for president.  And he almost certainly will win those states.  Michigan, Texas, and Florida will also hold primaries about the same time, and Giuliani should win two of those.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Pennsylvania was in that mix?  Tom Ridge may not think so, but I do.  Roger Simon [I think] was on Michael Smerconish’s show this morning suggesting we may be wise to keep our primary where it is.  We could be king-makers, he says.  Perhaps GOP voters will have “buyer’s remorse” after Feb. 5, he posits.  He makes two fundamental errors here.

First, he seems to think voters in later primaries will somehow channel the national mood.  That is plain wrong.  Voters in any given state channel their own mood.  Also, the idea that Pennsylvania will be lost in the shuffle of a Feb. 5 primary is laughable.  We have something like the 5th most delegates, and New Jersey and Delaware are already having early primaries, which means media buys in Philadelphia will do triple duty.  The same will apply in Pittsburgh vis a vis West Virginia, and Ohio’s primary is in early March, so there will be some handy bleed-over there.  The candidates are already paying our Commonwealth a smidgen of attention, despite our irrelevance.  I imagine we are easy to fit into an itinerary.  So if we want to be kingmakers, we need to move our primary date to Feb. 5.

Act 1 Post-Mortem

Tony Phyrillas has a nice eulogy for Act 1 on his blog.  Link here.  [HT to Bob Guzzardi’s frequent and helpful e-mails]

In it he lists the folks in the General Assembly who voted for this scheme.  Tony recommends we do to them what we did to their colleagues back in 2006.  While I am with Tony generally, I think Carole Rubley, who is my state rep, has earned a stay of political execution.  She voted against the pay raise, and voted against using state money to help build stadiums in Philly and Pittsburgh.  Then the state GOP rewarded her by withdrawing their support for her run for the state Senate seat currently held by Dinniman.

So anyone looked at askance by the state GOP is aces in my book, her Act 1 vote notwithstanding.

Now that Act 1 is out of the way as a potential roadblock to moving up our primary, she is also a supporter of helping Pennsylvanians have a significant say in who the major party presidential nominees are.  So read Tony’s entry, and take his advice.  I especially like how he points out what a failure Fast Eddie is turning out to be as Governor.  His endorsement was apparently political poison is last week’s primary.

Just don’t take his adivce vis a vis Rep. Rubley!

Act 1 Tanks On PA Primary Day

In a development that is good for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers and voters, the early signs indicate Act 1 Tax reform tanked yesterday in Pennsylvania’s primaries.  Lost by about 3 to 1 ratio in my Borough, and Democrats outnumber Republicans here by a margin about the same size.  The idea was to get us to give the Commonwealth permission to raise our earned income tax in exchange for unspecified real estate tax relief at an indetermined future date.  As detailed here the chances of real estate tax relief ever actually occurring were slim. 

Thus if we had approved the increase in the earned income tax we would have had to spend 100 years trying to get rid of the increase– like with the Spanish American War Phone Tax— while never actually seeing any relief on the back end.

Also, Act 1 was getting in the way of us moving our presidential primary up from April, the political equivalent of “island time”.  Thankfully, this objection will hopefully now disappear and Pennsylvania’s voters can now enjoy this fascinating right known in some circles as a “franchise”.

I saw my state representative Carole Rubley at a polling place yesterday, and she confirmed she was now down with House Bill 289, which moves our presidential primary to Feb. 5.  She did mention that she saw little action on the matter out of either party’s leadership, though.  So it is time for us to get on the case.

Pat Toomey & Club for Growth on Giuliani

The Club for Growth has recently released another white paper discussing Giuliani’s role as a fiscal conservative who led New York City out of a financial death spiral.  A man from Pennsylvania who will not be mistaken for a notorious liberal– social or fiscal– recently wrote a piece summarizing that paper for National Review Online.  You can find Pat Toomey’s remarks for NRO here, and the original Club for Growth white paper here.

This is not a hagiography.  The Club obviously is critical of Giuliani’s support for publicly financed baseball stadiums, and also his instinct there’s something wrong with the way we run our elections.  On the latter I happen to agree.  McCain / Feingold certainly isn’t the answer, but I am not aware of anyone who can long make a straight-faced case that it is ideal to have a two-year long presidential election fueled by more than a billion dollars mostly from the well-heeled.

The Club makes seems to make the case, though, that Giuliani is clearly the presidential candidate with the strongest economic bona fides.  They also point out something that is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine:  The media and political environment in which he effected his conservative agenda was the most hostile one possible in the country.  Therefore:

“…[O]ne cannot help but conclude that if Giuliani could accomplish the pro-growth record he did in the hostile environment of New York City, the potential for him to accomplish even more amid the more politically balanced federal government is great.”

This is obviously great for the campaign nationally.  It is also great for the campaign here in Pennsylvania.  Pat Toomey’s failed coup against Arlen Specter was the cause célèbre arguably responsible for the coalescence of grassroots conservatism in PA.  The Toomey movement has morphed into a dominating constituency in Pennsylvania conservative politics as represented by the PALC crowd.  This piece is obviously an indication that an official Toomey endorsement is possible, and such an endorsement would be huge for Giuliani here in the Commonwealth when it comes to securing the GOP nomination.

Last Word on Abortion

There has been some hullabaloo recently on Giuliani’s recent abortion remarks.  I have said elsewhere I will no longer comment on the subject.  Everything that needs to be said has now been said.  Mayor Giuliani seems most clearly the GOP presidential candidate who can plausibly move our country in a direction where less abortions will be performed, as he advocates a Federal solution leaving the matter to the states.  This is the only politically viable strategy, and he is the only candidate advocating it.

Since he has a track record of being personally sympathetic to the case that women should have the choice available to them, his administration would actually be best positioned to defend states who would legislatively choose to restrict abortion availability.  Pro-abortion activists will have a hard time portraying him as an ideologue.

That is the long and short of it.  I have no more to say on the subject, and will not be baited into commenting further.  Wait, one last remark from this moderate pr0-lifer:  First trimester abortions do not equal slavery.