2011 - The Year We Take Back Congress and Make Obama's Life Hell!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Is Pennsylvania Finally Headed in the RIGHT Direction?

LOOK OUT, Hillary! Watch your step, Barack!

If the 2008 presidential election were held today, Republicans John McCain or Rudy Giuliani would beat Democratic front-runners Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, according to the latest Daily News/Keystone Poll.

No Republican presidential candidate has won Pennsylvania since George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis in 1988.

In the presidential showdown, Sen. McCain beat Sen. Clinton 45 percent to 41 percent and beat Sen. Obama 43 percent to 37 percent.

Former New York City mayor Giuliani proved even more popular. He beat Clinton 53 to 37 percent and beat Obama 52 percent to 32 percent.

Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, which conducted the poll, said that McCain and Giuliani benefitted by being viewed as moderate Republicans.

"Both of these guys are not party regulars; they're not identified in the same way with the Republican party," he said.

It's a good thing they aren't viewed as the same kind of Republican as the current president, George W. Bush, whose popularity in Pennsylvania is at an all-time low.

Madonna also noted that while Pennsylvania has gone Democratic in the last four presidential elections, it has been mostly by small margins.

"It's trended Democrat, but it's still marginal enough that [Pennsylvania] is going to be a major player," he said.

Clinton may be fighting an upward battle here. The poll showed that 46 percent of registered voters gave her a "not favorable" rating. Only 32 percent viewed her favorably, while 17 percent were undecided and 5 percent didn't know.

"In Hillary's case she has high negatives for two reasons: one, the belief by many that she's polarizing, and the second one is the war," said Madonna, referring to Clinton's refusal to admit a mistake in voting to authorize military action in Iraq.

Obama might have room to grow, according to the results. His ratings were 31 percent favorable, 15 percent unfavorable and 20 percent undecided. But the highest percentage - 34 percent - said they don't know enough about him, which suggests he could still impress voters.

"Obama, the people who know him like him," Madonna said. "His problem is he's got to become better known. He's still kind of a media creation."

There are also the gender and race factors. Clinton would be the first woman, and Obama the first African-American, elected president. Could that be motivating Pennsylvania's voters to go Republican?

Madonna said he didn't think that was the main reason, saying he thought Clinton's negatives and Obama's lack of name recognition were bigger issues.

"If you're going to ask me if I think there's some residual problems with electing a women or an African-American, yes," he said. "Do I think they can overcome it? Yes."

Women voters favored Clinton over McCain, but were evenly split between McCain and Obama. But female voters chose Giuliani over both Clinton and Obama.

African-American and Latino voters vastly preferred Clinton and Obama to McCain and Giuliani.

John Baer has an opinion piece here.


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