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.