Is the Keystone State doing what it did in 1980 — and is it alone?
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Reagan Pivot. What is it? How to recognize it? What happens when it shows up in a presidential election?
The place to look this last week before the election is Pennsylvania.
Suddenly, Pennsylvania is in electoral fashion.
This commercial has now begun to pop up in a state that until the other day was barren of Romney commercials.
Starting yesterday, Pennsylvania is suddenly being flooded with TV ads from both Romney and Obama, as noted yesterday here. In fact, the money noted is a drop in the bucket. The updated figure has Romney SuperPAC Restore Our Future and a second GOP-leaning SuperPAC, Americans for Job Security, together kicking in a $3.2 million ad buy — and that doesn’t count the $600,000 mentioned above from Crossroads or the $120,000 from the Romney campaign itself. Nor does it count the $1.5 million being dropped now by Americans for Prosperity with this commercial and this commercial.
All told that’s almost $5.5 million in television ads suddenly inundating the state for a mere six days.
Of particular note is the Obama money — some $650,000 abruptly being pumped into the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh TV markets. In the case of Philadelphia this covers the Democrats’ base in Philadelphia and the four (read: Republican) suburban counties of Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware. Said a clearly nervous Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a conference call with reporters:
“We’re not gonna take anything for granted and make sure we’re doing what we need to do on the ground. We’re (also) gonna go up in Pa. They understand they’re not gonna be able to win Ohio, so now they’re getting desperate.”
A brand new Franklin and Marshall poll (full disclosure I am an F&M graduate) has Obama dropping an eleven point 50-39 lead from September to a 48-44 October lead, with 5% undecided. The F&M poll is run by Dr. Terry Madonna and is “produced in conjunction with the Philadelphia Daily News, WGAL-TV (South Central PA), Pittsburgh Tribune Review, WTAE‐TV (Pittsburgh), WPVI‐TV6/ABC (Philadelphia), Times-Shamrock Newspapers, Harrisburg Patriot‐News, and Lancaster Newspapers.” For the non-Pennsylvanians in the audience, this is a fairly representative sample in four of the five media markets in the state — Northeast (Wilkes-Barre, Scranton), Southeast (Philadelphia and the suburbs), Central (Harrisburg, Lancaster, York), and West (Pittsburgh.) The fifth, Erie and the Northwest, are not represented although Pittsburgh media can cover in some cases.
So. Why now? Why the sudden influx of cash, why is the Obama campaign clearly in such a panic over Pennsylvania that they are dumping $650,000 in media markets where they are playing to the home crowd?
The polls said a Romney victory wasn’t in the cards.
But were the polls wrong? Is the first sighting of Romney commercials and the sudden flush of cash in the Keystone State a sign that the polls have missed the Reagan Pivot?
Have they missed the Reagan Pivot as well not just in Pennsylvania but states like Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and yes, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa?
And what is the political phenomenon that is the Reagan Pivot?
How does the Reagan Pivot show itself? How does it hint, nudge and elbow itself to a victory that wasn’t anticipated by all the polls and all the experts?
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