Really interesting political analysis of Pennsylvania. The writer uses actual census data and interviews real people rather than relying on his memory or political clichés about the state:
On June 30, 2011, an enthusiastic Mitt Romney arrived here in the heart of the Lehigh Valley determined to make Pennsylvania a presidential battleground state.
A key assumption underpinned Romney’s appearance in Allentown — that theworking class whites who once dominated this great industrial center would back the Republican nominee.
Both the Obama and Romney campaigns made significant investments in advertising in Pennsylvania. The pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, and two conservative PACs, Crossroads GPS and Americans For Prosperity, have together spent a total of $9.7 million; the Obama campaign and its allied super PAC, Priorities USA Action, have spent $8 million.
By the end of August, however, ad buying stopped. The Romney campaign effectively conceded the state.
From 1998 to 2011, the number of registered Republicans in Lehigh County fell from 75,099 to 73,857, while Democrats shot up from 78,002 to 107,594.
From 2000 to 2010, Lehigh County went from 83.2 percent non-Hispanic white to 70.7; from 3.6 percent African American to 7.7 percent; and, most significantly, from 10.2 percent Hispanic to 19.5 percent. The political consequences of recent population trends have been dramatic.
He sees brown people. They’re included!
And then there’s this:
The reason Romney has a strong, 13-point edge among all white working class voters, according to the P.R.R.I. findings, is that in the South his margin is huge. In the rest of the country, the white working class is much more closely divided.
Among southern working class whites, Romney leads by 40 points, 62-22, an extraordinary gap.
The story in the rest of the country is different. In the West, where Colorado and Nevada are battleground states, Romney leads by a modest 5 points, 46-41. In the Northeast, which Obama is expected to sweep, except perhaps for New Hampshire, Romney holds a 4-point advantage among working class whites, 42-38. In the Midwest, where Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin are in play, Obama actually leads among working class whites by 8 points (44-36).
There are huge regional differences among white working class voters. Who knew?