Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

By now, we have all probably seen the polls that show Ed Rendell to be in some trouble against newly minted Pennsylvania Republican Gubernatorial nominee Lynn Swann (see polls on the Governor's race at Zobgy, Rasmussen, and Strategic Vision, all conducted within the past couple weeks and all showing a close race). While not a head to head trial heat, I think a recent Pennsylvania presidential primary poll by Republican firm Strategic Vision might show just how deep Rendell's problems actually are: (I have included a recent Wisconsin poll on the same subject for the sake of comparison):

Who is your choice for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008? (Democrats only)

            PA, 1/25        WI, 2/01
Clinton        35              28
Gore           15              16
Edwards      10               6
Kerry            7               4
Feingold        7              23
Clark            5               4
Warner          5               3
Biden           2               2
Rendell         2               1
Bayh            1               1
Richardson      1               1
Vilsack         1               1
Boxer           1               1
Undecided       8               9

That is, um, not good for Rendell. Sure, everyone loses to Clinton in their home state, but not everyone gets blown out, as you can see from the recent Wisconsin poll. Also, not everyone finishes in a tie for eighth in their home state with 2%. In particular, how can Rendell possibly finish behind Feingold, Clark and Warner in Pennsylvania? What sort of name ID do those three have among Democrats in PA? Is it even 30%?

Rendell is not the first choice of Pennsylvania Democrats. He isn't the sixth choice, even when people aren't very familiar with many of the names offered. I think this shows he will clearly have problems firing up the base, a problem the Republican base may not have with Santorum on the ticket. Considering how many other important elections are taking place in Pennsylvania this year, this is a very bad sign indeed. In order to GOTV, we are going to have to run an anti-Santorum campaign around here.

While never great, it wasn't always this bad for Rendell. In August, he managed 6% of the vote in a similar poll. In September, he managed 5%. Still not great, but better. I hope Rendell still thinks endorsing Alito and repeating Republican talking points about Democrats while doing so on Fox News was worth it.

Tags: 2008, Democrats, Governors 2006, Pennsylvania, Primary Elections, Wisconsin (all tags)



Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

Rendell lost me (I don't live in PA so it doesn't matter) when he weighed in on Kerry's filibuster effort of Alito and said he was strongly against it.

I mean, WTF?  Is he competing with Lieberman for DINO of the Year?

by Dartanyon 2006-02-09 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats
that would probably go to bob casey
by Albert 2006-02-09 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

I love how the leftists around here are conflicted between being homers who are for any Dem are wanting a "real" Dem.

What is a real Dem?????????

Someone who is against market capitalism and wants to let criminals out of jail?  Someone who LIES about how the costs environmental wacko proposals are paid for by industry when in fact those costs show up in the light bills and gas cost of consumers?

Someone who believes in Castro economics, letting criminals out of jail and screwing the consumer with higher costs for everyone isn't going to do well in any election.

You libs should thank Lieberman and Rendell for imposing some sanity on the wackos.

by BubbaTheBopper 2006-02-09 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

Enjoy your forest of "1"s, coolio.

by Teaser 2006-02-09 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

Well said, Comrade Bubba!

by Covin 2006-02-09 06:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to believe that Rendell will have much difficulty "firing up the base."  Living in Philly my whole life, I've seen him do it too many times to discount it.

by Teaser 2006-02-09 06:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

Absolutely.  But at the same time, we see him as human, not Presidential.  

by Adam B 2006-02-09 12:51PM | 0 recs

Chris, perhaps you could weigh in on a question that continues to cause flame wars in the comments of any post having to do with Pennsylvania.

How red is Pennsylvania?

To win statewide is it necessary to trumpet conservative social values such as being anti-choice on abortion, against stem cell research, against expanded rights for gays, against immigrants, and so on? Are liberals being unrealistic in expecting that certain social freedoms will be protected by ANY representative of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania?

Stated another way, can a typical liberal win in Pennsylvania or do you need to be more in the mold of a Harry Reid or Ben Nelson?

I'd be interested in hearing your opinion of the makeup of the electorate of Pennsylvania.

by Curt Matlock 2006-02-09 06:29AM | 0 recs
rights for gays

Please don't use the term "expanded rights for gays."  I think most people are just looking for "equal rights for gays."

by Fran for Dean 2006-02-09 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: rights for gays

I meant special rights for gays. Sorry.  </snark>

by Curt Matlock 2006-02-09 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania

I'm not Chris, but I do live in Pittsburgh, PA and I'm going to point to Senator Specter and his professed pro-choice stance as evidence that being pro-choice isn't a deal breaker at least.

by Quinton 2006-02-09 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania

That's a good point. For this cycle I guess the question is already moot regarding candidate selection because Rendell and Casey are facts of life. But I do think the question has important implications for how Democrats should campaign there in 2006 and 2008.

If you just looked at the statewide candidate choices in Pennsylvania you'd think you were in my own home state of Indiana. Whether those candidates are representative of the Pennsylvania electorate is what I was hoping a few knowledgeable locals could educate us about.

by Curt Matlock 2006-02-10 04:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

Also, Chris, how relevant is this data?  You posted the WI poll for comparison, but no evidence that this particular measure has any significance with respect to, well, much else at all.  

by Teaser 2006-02-09 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

I think the comparison was to show that someone who's playing on their home field normally does much better.  So compare how Feingold did in PA verses in WI.  Because people in WI know him and like him, his numbers there are much better than in PA.  On the other hand, people in PA certainly know Rendell, but apparently they don't like him enough amongst Democrats that they would want him as the Democratic nominee for President.

by Fran for Dean 2006-02-09 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

Damn straight Bubba! But you left out how Dem wackos had a budget surplus in 2000 -- and I'll bet Castro did too! -- until Our President restored some market-based sanity with $500 billion deficits as far as they eye can see!  And thank God he kept all those Gitmo "criminals" in jail except for the 500 or 800 or 1200 he let go!  Our steely-eyed rocket man Mr. Bush also made sure that true Americans like Exxon upheld our glorious capitalist system with record profits on three-bucks-a-gallon gas ... unlike those Commies Corzine and Rubin and all the rest, who somehow infiltrated Wall Street and made millions, despite being anti-capitalist Democrats! It makes me cry to know that insurance companies and pharmaceutical giants -- having fought off that monstrous Medicare drug bill that they obviously had nothing to do with -- need to pass on their "costs" to consumers to prop up their paltry earnings.  DAMN those Democrats!

by tuffie 2006-02-09 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

And now back on Planet Earth -- it's nice here, Bubba, you should visit -- Rendell is in major trouble with the Steeler hero peeling off enough Pittsburgh-area and black votes to win this thing.  I live five miles outside of Philly center city, and although the burbs here are turning blue, Rendell has no real base here.  We'd better get enough anti-Santorums out and hope they pull the straight ticket, but my guy says it's gonna be one-tern Eddie, and then we'll have another black sell-out to fight off when he gets even more ambitious.  The national GOP will canonize Swann if he pulls this off.

by tuffie 2006-02-09 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

The onus will be on Swann to run an effective campaign and define himself as more than a novelty act once the shine from the Steelers Super Bowl win wears thin.  

I suspect, when all is said and done, Swann will prove to be a political novice, and Rendell will be re-elected.

What surprised me more was the positioning of various 2008 candidates in both the Democratic and Republican surveys.  It is interesting to note that Giuliani's advantage in general polls holds in individual states, with Michigan the exception.  Personally, I would love to see Giuliani somehow get through the primaries into the General Election (it won't happen), because he would be much more beatable than McCain.

On our side, I've noticed Feingold has gotten a bit of a bump as his name ID has increased.  Also, there appears to be a 10-15% chunk of the vote that could potentially go to Feingold if Gore stays out (since they most likely have closer crossover constituencies, assuming Gore's voting block isn't based solely on name ID).

by Hadi 2006-02-09 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

You may count me as one of the "undecideds."  It is my hope that we select someone that is electable which usually means a moderate.  Selecting "real Dems" got us Mondale and Dukakis.  I don't care to see any more Republican landslides that send the party reeling from national offices to local offices in my lifetime.

by ButtonGwinnett 2006-02-09 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

I am pissed at Rendell over the Faux News appearance. It is one thing to come out and take a stand on something, but going on Fox News to do it and bashing Democrats there damn near cost him my vote.

I'm not sure I could bring myself to vote for a Rethug at this point, but I'm still considering not voting for Rendell. It depends on what Swann's stance on issues is, once he has one, and whether Rendell pulls any more dickhead moves.

Oh, and even before the Faux News appearance, Rendell a presidential candidate? Hahahahahaha.

by shargash 2006-02-09 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris , This is much more than Rendell!


The results you are seeing is much more than just Ed Rendell. Nor is it because he appeared of Faux or he's a moderate.

The BIG FACTOR here is Swann is getting  SIGNIFICANT enough support from African-American Democrats.

That's the biggest challenge X Factor for Rendell right now. If even 10%-15% of African-American registered Democratic voters cross party lines on election day & vote for Swann- HE'S IN TROUBLE!

Every Democrat who has won Statewide office in PA, from Clinton twice, Gore in 2000 & Kerry in 04, to Rendell as Governor in 2000 show that the they win due to HEAVY & MASSIVE Black turnout for the Democrat.

In this case, African-American Republican Swann is obviously attracting enough Black Democrats to put this race as a toss-up. Rendell knows this & is thus, moving right to hopefully attract some undecided more moderate White Voters. He will need a higher support among non-blacks to make up for the loss. That's the only way he's going to offset it.

This is SAME Phenomenon that can happen in Maryland with Black Republican Steele. Assuming Democrat Cardin is the nominee, without a doubt Steele will get a percentage of African-American Democrats to cross party lines. Especially with all the resentment & controversy sorrounding MFUME among some BLack Democrats.

If Kennedy-Townsend lost because of weak Black support, Democrats better take PA & MD seriously.

Especially PA, I lost of the Governorship will be a BIG PLUS for the GOP in the 2008 Presidential election. PA is capable of turning Red with especially if they controlled the Governorship to mount a the State GOP Machinery.

If PA voters could vote for Santorum, they always have the potential of going Red.

These two states should be a Big Concern for the Democratic Party.

by fightingLadyinblue 2006-02-09 07:37AM | 0 recs
Um, isn't this a bit selective?

Is there a poll showing Rendell trailing Swann?

Because you're talking about a poll for the 2008 prez race.  That's a different question than Rendell vs. Swann.

To be honest, I don't think a state whose only President ever was James Buchanan (noteably, the only known gay president, and generally credited with accelerating the arrival of the Civil War)  is just all that convinced anyone from PA is ever going to be President any time soon.  Admittedly, we could argue for claiming Ike, but everyone seems to ignore Ike, so to hell with him I guess.

Anyone from PA knows the mentality -- both east and west -- in this state about our role in the world.  We don't really think any of us or our guys are going to break through.  In fact, it's probably the thing that unites eastern and western PA most (cause we don't like yins soda drinkers over there in th' eastern parta th' state).

And, yes, I am a confessed charter member of "Pimpin' for Rendell", the one and only Democratic group committed to extolling the virtues of all things Rendell.

At the end of the day, I'm not sold that Rendell is going to fail to get traction against Swann.

Swann is a weak candidate.  Crudely put, he doesn't come off as culturally "black".  Worse, the racist vote in the center of the state isn't really going to care how much Swann whites things up for them, because most of them stopped watching Blazing Saddles about the point where the old lady apologized to the sheriff.

I struggle to believe he even wins any Steelers votes, because real western Pennsylvanians place Swann way down the list of people who contributed to that team.

I'm just not sold that Swann is strong or that Rendell is particularly weak.

I think it is common practice for those in the leftie blogosphere to try to challenge the center and right fringes of the party just for sport.

by jcjcjc 2006-02-09 08:14AM | 0 recs
My apologies

I didn't read the Strategic vision poll.

BTW, having read the poll, may I point out that Santorum is in the exact same position as Rendell in a GOP-sponsored poll?

by jcjcjc 2006-02-09 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

I find the poll numbers for Hillary and Gore more interesting than Rendell's.  Unfortunately for Hillary, everybody and their brother knows she's running.  EVERYONE.  Hence, her polling in double digits (with the exception of Feingold in WI) over the entire field.  Her name ID is already topped out and the expectations for her to make a run have already been met.  My bet is she's maxed out with that 35% in Pennsylvania and not more than 30 in Wisconsin.  The same can be said for Kerry, Edwards and even Clark on some level.  Hillary will never get the nod.  I'm not even sure the second slot is viable for any number of reasons but mainly because of her polarizing effect.

As for the former V.P. that's a different story.  Yes, his name recognition has topped out as well.  But here's the thing.  Most people at this point are taking him at his word about not running.  But there is a major sector of the electorate now who knows two things they didn't know before:  what would happen if they voted for Bush and a strong possibility that Gore was cheated out of his victory.  He's not even a candidate and he's pulling those numbers.  He's pulling those numbers over an entire field, with the exception of Boxer and Rendell, that has made it plain on certain levels they are in fact in the race.  Hillary is going to be nothing more than an ado about nothing.  This thing is Gore's if he wants it.  The other's know it too.  They had their chance in 2004 and they blew it.  He isn't the 800 lb. gorilla in the room - he's the room.  And he will only allow them to occupy that room at his pleasure.


"Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory."
     ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

by DuvalDem 2006-02-09 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Regardless if HRC

I am not a Hillary supporter. Nonetheless, anyone who is not bias has to be impressive with Hillary Clinton's numbers.

To be leading most of the major Democratic Presidential wannabes in their home state is not an easy feat.

Regardless of how you feel about her or your personal handicap of the '08 primary, Hillary Clinton is doing very well in BOTH Popularity & Money. Two Very Important Keys to any candidate for Major office.

The fact that polls show her ahead Big even against 2004 Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry in his own Blue State of Massachusetts for '08, and also beating popular Sen. Russ Feingold in WI & Bill Richardson in NM for 2008- That's NOT SOMETHING YOU JUST DISMISS.

Remember, even in '04, Hillary was ahead in all Democratic polls against Kerry, Edwards, Clark & Dean despite her not even being a candidate.

If yesterday's announcement by Hotline is accurate in their assessment that Hillary Clinton will raise a Historic $500 MILLION dollars by the 2008 primary - That's a Lot of MONEY for someone who is already way ahead in polls. She is going to be the Mt. Everest of Democratic Primary '08.

The only poll where I saw her come-up 2nd or 3rd in Democratic polling was in the Red States of Indiana and Virginia. Where as expected from a more conservative Democratic electorate, Bayh & Warner topped their respective home states.

I think we are going to see a united Democratic front against her by next year among the Presidential wannabes. They have no choice. They will have to slow her down if they ever hope of having a shot  

by fightingLadyinblue 2006-02-09 11:30AM | 0 recs
I don't read it that way at all

Especially Feingold.  I had no idea he had that much support in his home state at this point.  Earlier polls of Wisconsin had him with signle digits, I believe.

In any case, all presidential polling of the general public at this point is complete bullshit.

Let me show you a poll taken in January, 2002, that is, about the same point in the presidential election cycle as now:

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Robert Teeter (R). Jan. 18-21, 2002. N=1,011 adults nationwide.

"Let me read you a list of people who might seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. If the next Democratic primary for president were being held today, which one of the following candidates would you vote for?" If "Not sure," ask: "Well, which way do you lean?" Asked of Democrats
 Al Gore 35    
 Bill Bradley 9    
 Joe Lieberman 9    
 Tom Daschle 9    
 Richard Gephardt 8    
 John Kerry 6    
 John Edwards 3    
 Joe Biden 3    
 None/Other (vol.) 4    
 Not sure 14 m (scroll down)

Out of the top five names listed there, three didn't run, and the other two finished last and second to last amoungst mainstream canidates (IE not counting Kucinich or Sharpton).

I would not be surprised if Hillary doesn't even run.

by Geotpf 2006-02-09 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't read it that way at all

You're looking at it from the 3 people who did not run. However, you have to agree with me that IF Al Gore had run, he would have WON the Democratic nomination hands down. Even among the netroots, he would have won the backing of this  community. My point is IF Gore had run, he would have been very tough to beat.

Just as as early as 1998, Gore was already leading in ALL the polls by huge double digit #'s & eventually won the 2000 nomination. While in the GOP side, as early as 1998, George W. Bush was ahead by as much as 30%+ in all GOP polls & did eventually win the 2000 GOP nomination as well.

Political analysts of all stripes agree that HRC will be a Heavy Favorite IF she runs. Of course, if she does not run, then how can she be the favorite?

But in all honesty, many Democrats who keep on saying that she may not run are mostly the Anti-Hillary people who are doing some wishful thinking. All signs outside & inside her campaign show that she will run for President. This woman who is ahead by as much as 35% for her reelection campaign in November. Do you think she is just wasting so much valuable time & energy travelling across america & raising about $2-5 MILLION PER MONTH for NOTHING???

I will not support her for the Primary. But I certainly am not oblivious to what is going on. Any Democrat who hopes to win the nomination will have to go thru her.

As Hotline has said, She will raised 3 to 4 Times MORE money than Republican George W. Bush ever raised !!! Not only is that mind boggling but for a Democrat to raise that kind of money??

How in the world can anyone who understands politics & knows what's needed to win brush that off? The only way she will be a non-factor is IF SHE DOES NOT RUN or SHE MAKES A MAJOR MAJOR SCREW-UP. Otherwise, the rest of the field will have very little room for comfort.

Many Democrats who say that Hillary is just doing well because people know her are wishful thinking. Or rather hoping for the best. Yes, people especially Democrats know her very well. Either you like her or you don't. Obviously, Dem polls are showing the former.

by fightingLadyinblue 2006-02-09 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

Where Rendell may be running into serious trouble is that he is being seen in Western PA as being against Mario Lemieux and the Penguins getting a slots license, building a new arena and staying in Pittsburgh.  The story going around Pittsburgh is that Rendell is in the pocket of another slot's applicant, Forest City Enterprises (who have been a major campaign contributor.)  Swan has already come out and said "We need to build Mario a new arena."  If Rendell is seen as the guy who drove Mario out of Pittsburgh, he will lose the region bigtime.  And a Democrat needs both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to win the state.

by The Goatherder 2006-02-09 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Rendell Weak Among Pennsylvania Democrats

In terms of GOTV, we should get a lot of help from Lois Murphy, Chris Carney and co. in their districts, as well as Casey out in Western PA, because his pro-labor, while unfortunately anti-woman stand has a lot of selling potential there.  Obviously, a better gubernatorial candidate would be a plus, but the reverse coattails should do a lot of good.

by DanM 2006-02-09 12:39PM | 0 recs


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