Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

The common wisdom is that the longer that the Democratic primaries drag on, the worse it is for the Democratic Party. But the increased attention and energy involved in the Democratic primaries is having some decidedly positive short-term and long-term effects. For instance, take a look at these numbers out of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Democrats have added more than 65,000 voters to their rolls since last fall, a reflection of the high level of interest in the contested race for the party's presidential nomination and the state's April 22 primary.

The number of Democrats increased 1.7 percent -- from 3,883,378 in November to 3,948,775 as of March 4.

GOP enrollment grew by 0.1 percent, from 3,245,271 to 3,248,583, during the period.

This is really important stuff. In 2000, Al Gore carried Pennsylvania by 200,000 votes. In 2004, John Kerry's margin of victory in the state was fewer than 145,000 votes. So adding a new 60,000-plus new voters (65,000 new Democratic voters minus 3,300 new Republican voters) could clearly make a huge difference in the state. Naturally, registering voters is not everything. Turning out these voters is also key come November 2008.

Traditionally, picking up swing voters in swing regions of swing states is no doubt important. In the case of Pennsylvania, this amounts to focusing on the Philadelphia suburbs. However, if a party can change the traditional rule by registering tens of thousands more new voters than the other party -- and turning those new voters out -- it is in a much better position to win, with or without those key swing voters. And when a party is tending to perform better among swing voters and is registering a whole heck of a lot more new voters than the other party, well, then things start looking really good for the election to come. This isn't to say that Pennsylvania is now in the bag for the Democrats. Nevertheless, hope should not be lost at this juncture, either.

Tags: Democratic primaries, general election, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Primary (all tags)

Comments

45 Comments

Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

The latest head-to-head from Susquehanna has McCain beating Obama by one point despite losing among independents because McCain gets nearly a quarter of Democratic voters (or presumably half of Clinton supporters).  This is a sign that the Clinton character assassination campaign against the likely Dem nominee is working and is having a real significant affect on Democratic chances in general in November.  It's abcolutely appalling and she and her enablers/supporters int he Clinton smear machine should be ashamed of themselves.  The ongoing primary and registration drive is only a positive if those voters vote Democratic in November, and that means that Hillary must cease and desist from the negative smear campaign immediately.

by NJIndependent 2008-03-12 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

What Democrat in their right mind would prefer McCain to either of our candidates?  The numbers indicate that there is an ugly undercurrent to all of this.

By the way, wasn't it the Clinton campaign calling Obama supporters cultists?  Doesn't that mean that they've fallen under a spell and/or been hoodwinked?  Obama's comment was in reaction to Clinton's contradictory statements that he had not "crossed the threshold" to be CiC but that she would still consider him as her VP.  I think that that is a real insult to voters' intelligence, since obviously these contradictory memes were targeted at two separate demographics and were never meant to be compared side-by-side.

by rfahey22 2008-03-12 10:02AM | 0 recs
Jon, you are correct

The received wisdom that a primary that drags on  - is in fact here incorrect.

Pennsylvania now correctly perceives herself as being a real voice in the process. It is a large prize of delegates.

CNN reports today that the Caucus results are now showing that Obama won Texas by a significant number of delegates and the two must-win primaries that Clinton required, Ohio, and Texas - are now winnowed down to only one. Ohio.

It is my firm belief that as much as New Hampshire actively decided to stand back and let America gather perspective on the importance of this election - after Hillarys resounding defeat in Iowa - Pennsylvania will step in with a decisive victory for either candidate and
we will see pressure to apply the popular vote and overall vote template against superdelegates to finish the race.

This is not about Dems for a day - its about a perfect storm of American political change. A failed approach in foreign policy - and a new direction - that is generating global as well as local interest.

The GOP voters in Pennsylvania that get excited about People like Rick Santorum are sitting it out. They are disenchanted with McCain but will likely support them, albeit in low numbers. They are too focussed on the crawl at the bottom of their screen and have become too dependent on
their party machinery to tell them what to think.
They have brokend down, as the GOP has broken down.

This is huge for the Democratic party. I think a very positive influence. I agree completely.

And Bush Republicanism is a badge that will have to be worn for a decade, for some.

Too bad Hillary's support of George Bush's war makes her one of them.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-12 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Jon, you are correct

Actually, we won't know any of the actual delegate counts from caucuses until May or June when their parties meet and vote, so for you to saw Obama won more delegates in the Texas caucus that originally thought (and if CNN said it) then you are both not giving factual information.

by cmugirl90 2008-03-12 09:19AM | 0 recs
State Conventions

This has been overlooked generally. I looked on my own and found that most state convention which will acutally pledge the caucus delegates will be a little after the primary calendar finishes the first week of June. However, since we know who the conventions are going to vote for in advance, the only way that gets turned around is if there's some major power play (which would come from Clinton's side given Obama's caucus dominance) or if the superdelegates magically broke uniformly to one candidate or the other.

by risenmessiah 2008-03-12 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: State Conventions

CNN has been fairly accurate up to this point and is a generally trusted news source on this blog so my original comment stands.

Clinton "won" california but only got a handful of delegates more than Obama but Barack Obama is consistently winning states, so far he has won 30 out of the last 44 and like yesterday by very, very significant margins.

Iowa was a blowout victory against Clinton.
And the story keeps repeating.
But Clinton, to date. Has only been able to firewall the challenge of Obama . New Hampshire was a firewall. Ohio. And they said up and down that Texas was going to be a firewall.

How is it that you can pretend that Clinton won Texas, when she came out with less delegates ?

Bottom line: Clinton is losing the race.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-12 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: State Conventions

Iowa was not a blowout - It was a caucus - BHO got 37% of the caucus that means 63% voted against him. Except for VT,WI,CO and Maine all the rest of the places that BHO won have a majority of AA votes. And then there is the undemocratic caucus factors

by indus 2008-03-12 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

The "Dems for a Day" was an Obama strategy that started in Florida, and then was tried in Texas.

by cmugirl90 2008-03-12 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Maybe you missed Bill Clinton's visit to Rush Limbaugh's show the day of the Texas votes. Now that's a real good place to go to find 'moderate' Republican's.

by JoeCoaster 2008-03-12 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Maybe you missed the fact that he wasn't on Rush Limbaugh's show.  He was on Mark Davis' show on WBAP in Dallas, and when Mark Davis sat in for Rush that day, he played EXCEPRTS of his interview.

So, no, Bill was not a guest on the Rush show.

by cmugirl90 2008-03-12 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

I see. So technically Bill was not on Rush's show but his interview was broadcast to Rush's audience. And the difference is.....what?

Rush took the day off so this could scheme could play out. Clinton could have at least been honest about it and just done the interview with Rush.

by JoeCoaster 2008-03-12 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Dream on buddy - I guess you are not on the bandwagon of hope and new politics as your leader.

by indus 2008-03-12 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Yeah, and in Mississippi...well, you know the rest.

by rfahey22 2008-03-12 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

No, it's in Pennsylvania too:

Already registered as a Democrat? Invite your friends to register as Democrats by March 24th!

More from Teresa in PA.

by KimPossible 2008-03-12 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Yes, we don't want new people to register at all.  Seriously, that diary is about as misguided as can be.  It really doesn't do a lot of credit to your sound bite.

by rfahey22 2008-03-12 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama trying the old Okey Doke in PA
The Obama campaign has already been spotted  with the Democrat for a day playbook in PA.
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/3/12/1227 57/185
He is trying to "bamboozle" us.
by coolofthenight 2008-03-12 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

How many of those new "democrats" are Limbaugh republicans who have re-registered to vote for Hillary so they can vote for McCain against her in the general?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/12/ 81339/4516/40/474909

by obsessed 2008-03-12 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

I love the way everyone thinks this is happening in any meaningful amount of voters... normal voters don't do things like that... it is such a small number that it is laughable that we are even discussing it.

by JDF 2008-03-12 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Then where did the 13% Republican vote that Clinton got last night in Mississippi come from?

by tysonpublic 2008-03-12 11:09AM | 0 recs
Shouldn't Obama be press-ganging college students?

As someone pointed out either here or on Kos, a voter registration drive on college campuses would have to be good for Obama and good for the party.  The diary I read said that an unenrolled voter has to refile as a Democrat by 24 March to vote in the primary -- it seems to me that the Obama campaign should be flying airplanes over the college campuses telling students to register Dem by then.

by DaveMB 2008-03-12 09:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Funny how there's barely a mention of Geraldine Ferraro's racist rants against Obama on this site.

How utterly convenient.

by DoubleDs 2008-03-12 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Isn't it, though?  But we're inundated with claims that Obama is somehow disenfranchising voters in Florida when he has absolutely no control over that process.

by rfahey22 2008-03-12 09:52AM | 0 recs
Too many swings

In a presidential election it's not "swing voters in swing regions of swing states". It doesn't matter what region a voter lives in within a state. They all go into the same total in determining who wins the electoral vote (except in Maine and Nebraska, where congressional districts matter).

It's just "swing voters in swing states".

by KCinDC 2008-03-12 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

   Shortsighted idiots are present in this thread.  We are registering real Democrats in Pennsylvania.  Do you morons know how hard it is to change registration in Pennsylvania?  It's the equivalent difficulty of voting absentee (really a high level of work for participation).  There are more Democrats because activists are working hard to register them.  No "Limbaugh Democrats" are being registered.  

by cilerder86 2008-03-12 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Yeah but why would we want new Democrats?

New Democrats might want a new direction...and that would do away with the 50+1 strategy that has served us so incredibly well in the past.

We can't have that happening, now can we?

by JDF 2008-03-12 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

We want new democrats to rally for change -  for the same reason proud parents want their little baby to come home with them; it is the life process of a living , rejuvenated political movement that will make the American government and society a nicer and more efficient place to be.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-12 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

A lot of people here believe in the old axiom, "Never let the truth get in the way of a great story."

by rfahey22 2008-03-12 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Unfortunately thats not true unless you consider Democrats for a day real democrats. The Obama campaign has sent letters  out through out the State to people  not registered Democrat.

by coolofthenight 2008-03-12 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania
  Stupid.  It is so hard to change registration, that I can assure there will be few "Democrats for a day."  The Obama campaign is trying to expand the voter base, and it's good for the party.  I admit that it's not good for Hillary if there are more voters.  Some young RINOs I know are on the verge of changing registration, but it seems some would like them to sign some oath.  Really, attacks on registration drives are among the most self-serving and vile I've seen on this site.
   At Penn State, where I am registering voters, we are trying to get college students to register to vote in the county.  It's hard for them to vote absentee, but it's much easier for them to vote if we get them to change their registration to their home on/near campus.
by cilerder86 2008-03-12 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania
Well Jim if it is so hard as you  indicate is the Obama campaign the one you mean when you start your post with stupid? So they are having a mass mailing to recruit Dems for a day  because they are stupid? Nah devious yes Stupid no. Wake up
you are being bamboozeled.
by coolofthenight 2008-03-12 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

Do you even read the documents you blog about or do you just follow the herd?  A mass mailing asking voters to register for the Democratic Party is not asking them to be "Dems for a day."

Sometimes I wonder about this board.

by rfahey22 2008-03-12 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania
Read this its the old dem for a day okey dokey
that he has pulled in other States. Maybe he bamboozles you not me. You think this is for the Party, that is a joke?
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/3/12/1227 57/185
by coolofthenight 2008-03-12 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

You're right, people should only be born into this party.  Hopefully we keep reproducing in large enough numbers to stave off the dying members of our little club.

by rfahey22 2008-03-12 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

i mentioned some days ago that this is the one positive coming out of this whole primary going on to this point.

but don't think that the primary going on to this point is actually a good thing overall. On the contrary, it looks like the longer it takes to figure out the nominee, the worse it will be for the GE.

by alex100 2008-03-12 10:26AM | 0 recs
Great news

More registered Democrats in PA is a good thing no matter how you slice it. Yeah, some mischief Republicans will probably get swept up in the nets too, but if I was one of McCain's strategists these numbers would make me sad.

by Purplepeople 2008-03-12 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Great news

It's highly unlikely that any but a very small amount of the Republicans that Obama's campaign are registering as Democrats are registering for cynical reasons.  Sure, some of them may end up voting for McCain in the general, but the very act of registering as a Democrat and voting for a Democrat make them more likely to vote Democratic again.  I don't know how anyone can argue this point.  The result is that people feel less unwilling to vote Democratic in the future.

The rhetoric of the Clinton supporters that independents and republicans shouldn't vote in the Democratic primary demonstrates Clinton's weakness in the GE.  Even if you accept that Clinton is the choice of the self-identifying Democrats (and I absolutely don't), Democrats make up around 30% of the electorate, and if you carry them and not many other voters, you're going to lose worse than Mondale.

Also, where was all the outrage that Clinton won the GOP vote in Mississippi 3 to 1?  Consistency, people.

by FishinginCrisis 2008-03-12 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Great news

Self-identifying Democrats are now up to about 40%.  Most recent surveys I've seen is about 40-30-30 Dem-GOP-Ind/other.

Of course Hillary's disgusting Rovian smear campaign has convinced 25% of the Dems to vote for the Republican in the GE, too, which pretty much wipes out the registration advantage.

by NJIndependent 2008-03-12 11:15AM | 0 recs
One Thousand Seven Hundred

Re-reading Jon's post (I enjoy his writing immensely) it struck me a number, that I did not see.

Democrats rank and file are grew 1,600% more than the GOP in Pennsylvannia.

If we account for the obvious - "the race is over" type stuff that must be happening with
the GOP primary vote right now (GOP are probably saying to themselves that they'd vote for the easter bunny and it would not make a difference in their primary, McCain is the nominee..)..

I would say that still, the Dems are probably 50 to 60 percent stronger in real enrollment. I base this number on the figures that came in from Iowa, and the other caucuses that followed.

Thats huge.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-12 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania
She is establishment candidate who can't close the deal.
She is only now winning republican votes, because they know she is the weaker candidate.
by PrinceCA 2008-03-12 11:19AM | 0 recs
Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

I shudder about PA. Remember 1968? Wallace did very well there in the primary and went on to take (I think) 8% of the GE vote.  The CLintons know their history. Are we talking about Hillary George Wallace Clinton intentionally manipulating a racist impulse among white ethnics. If that happens, and the Supers give it to her, expect Armageddon. we are not talking about people voting for McCain. We are talking about people marching down to their Board of Elections and a massive  de-registering of Democrats.

by NYWoman 2008-03-12 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

The real question is whether these new Democrats will vote for Democrats in November, if they vote at all.  We won't know until it happens.

by NM Ward Chair 2008-03-12 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

I don't know the law in Pennsylvania, but in many states your registration is set in the primaries.  So all these new Dems in many places aren't going to be able to vote Republican in the Fall.

by Brillobreaks 2008-03-12 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Brillo
Ah helloo in the general everybody gets to vote
for anyone they want doesn't matter how they are registered. Geez
by coolofthenight 2008-03-12 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

How can MyDD have this story on its front page, yet a recommended diary screaming that Obama's campaign is trying to steal voters...by registering them as Democrats? The increase in voters has to come from somewhere. You can't celebrate new members with one hand, and then claim that actually getting them signed up is partisan and horrible with the other.

The cognitive dissonance is amazing.

by upstate girl 2008-03-12 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Good Omens Out of Pennsylvania

This whole primary 'thing' is getting boring now. Yes it is a historic campaign, yes it has been fantastic for the party.
But I don't know about you, i'm getting fatigue. Obama has clearly won. It's time to put this whole charade over and get behind him.

HRC is waiting for a miracle messiah moment and it's now just a bore.

by PrinceCA 2008-03-13 05:36AM | 0 recs

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