Day By Day

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Pennsylvania Politics -- The Leaders

The latest Strategic Vision poll is out. It shows a number of interesting trends.

In the Republican competition to challenge inumbent Gov. Ed Rendell, Lynn Swann is burying Bill Scranton. Not only does Swann lead Scranton by ten points, 44% to 34%, he also beats Rendell, 46% to 44%. Scranton would lose to Rendell, 46% to 41%. This shows a lot of stability on the Rendell side. His approval rating is 45% and he polls 44-46% against his likely Republican challengers. No motion there and that number is going to be hard to move. What it all means is that this is Swann's race to win or lose. Swanny is new to the game, but he's a big game guy. This will be interesting.

Parenthetically, for those who think race will hurt Swann, a few days ago Scranton's campaign referred to Swann as "the rich white guy" in the race. The staffer who said that was fired in an excess of PC silliness [here], but he spoke some truth. Swann's popularity is such that he transcends racial indentity. When voters look at him they don't see black, they see Steeler black and gold.

In the Senatorial race. Santorum is inching a bit closer. He now loses to Casey 40% to 50%. What is significant here is that Casey seems not to have been hurt at all by his strongly pro-life statements and his support for Samuel Alito's confirmation. Republicans had hoped that as liberals learned more about Casey they would turn from him, but that's not happening. It is going to be very hard for Santorum to make up a ten point deficit. That doesn't mean that the race won't tighten, but Santorum has a long row to hoe.

On the national level Rudy Giuliani seems to be Pennsylvania republicans' main man. He outpolls McCain 35% to 22%. Condi comes in a distant third at 13%. No social conservative polls better than 2%. On the Democrat side, Hillary gets 35% and stands alone -- nobody else comes close.

Right now anti-incumbent fervor is a tidal force in Pennsylvania. This is not a good year to be an incumbent, and right now Swann and Casey are looking good.

A more important point is starting to emerge. By and large Pennsylvania voters are sick to death of the ideological warfare that has characterized national politics for decades. They aren't upset by Casey's pro-life position or by Swann's skin color. Those factors won't move many votes. Nor will Bush's war in Iraq. Pennsylvania voters are far more concerned with non-ideological bread and butter issues.

Of course, that could all change in a heartbeat.

Stay tuned.

Read the poll results here.

No comments: