Day By Day

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pennsylvania Politics -- Swanny Rises Again

Rasmussen reports that Swann and Rendell are basically tied in their contest for the governorship. Swann is currently running three points behind Rendell, which confirms last month's poll that showed Swann two points ahead. Both results are within the poll's margin of error. The Rasmussen results disconfirm those of the the Quinnipiac organization which just last week showed Rendell with a huge lead. Neither Swann nor Rendell has strong party support. Both men receive about two-thirds of their party's votes. This is good news for Swann. He is still establishing himself. Rendell is a known factor. One third of Democrats are so disgusted with Rendell that they won't vote for him. They are unlikely to change their minds. Swann, however, is in a position to convince Republicans who think he is unqualified that he really does have the chops. On the other hand, Rendell is polling better among independents. That might not matter much. This is an off-year election and both parties are working hard to suppress the independent vote. The key to this year's vote will be turning out your base, and Rendell doesn't inspire much fervor among Democrat partisans.

The same report also shows that Santorum is not closing the gap on Casey [here]. He's sixteen points down, as opposed to twenty points in November, but that's not much of a recovery. What is more Santorum runs well behind President Bush and Republicans in general in the polls, so the whole thing is personal. Santorum right now is political poison. His biggest problem is that lots of Republicans are defecting to Casey. The biggest reason for this is that Santorum is widely seen as having betrayed his conservative base by supporting Specter's re-election campaign two years ago.

There is a real problem here for the Republicans in general. Bush and the moderate leadership has time and again alienated the conservative wing of the party. The only thing that has kept conservatives in the fold is their absolute detestation of the liberal wing of the Democrat Party. Casey's campaign is showing that a moderate to conservative Democrat can draw Republican votes. If the Democrats are smart enough to run a conservative in 2008 they have a chance to sweep the field. But that, of course, would mean repudiating the looney left and their millions and I doubt that any major Democrat candidate has the courage to do that.

No comments: