Monday, November 26, 2012

Continuing Vote Count in 37 States Reveals Major Romney Strategic Blunder--Foregoing Full Campaign In Pennsylvania

Amazingly, 20 days after the election, 37 states are still counting votes, according to Nate Silver.  And as the votes get counted, President Obama's lead grows, reaching now 3.3%, while Governor Romney's share falls to about 47.5%.  Silver writes that currently 127 million votes have been counted in 2012 or 4 million less than the 131 million final vote tally in 2012.

As the votes come in, Pennsylvania is what Silver calls the "tipping point state," the state that supplied the President with the 270th electoral vote, when states are ranked from most Democratic to least Democratic.
Indeed, the President's margin in Colorado, that was the tipping point state at one point in the vote count, has now reached 5.5% or higher than his margin in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is accustomed to being near the center of the political universe, a state that attracts an all out effort by both major political parties to carry it in the Presidential race.  But that was not the case in 2012.  Romney made a last gasp grab for Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, but the Romney campaign and his allied Super Pacs gave up on the state for most of the fall campaign, to the frustration of state Republican leaders.

Yet, Silver's analysis and the current vote count confirm Pennsylvania's GOP leaders really did know better. The Romney decision to forego a full campaign in Pennsylvania, and instead pour resources into the supposedly greener and more important political pastures of Colorado, Iowa, and Wisconsin, was a major strategic blunder.

To be clear, the mistake did not cost Governor Romney the election, and he may not have won Pennsylvania had he focused on it.  Yet, Romney needed Pennsylvania more than any other state--that is what tipping point status means--and not to compete fully here was a blunder indeed.

Finally, for Pennsylvania's Democrats, Romney's blunder was most welcome, for it probably did decisively benefit Democratic candidates in some statewide, state senate, and state house races throughout the Commonwealth.

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