Tom Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer has a piece examining about whether Mitt Romney will contest Pennsylvania this year that also contains a treasure trove of great political facts about Presidential politics in Pennsylvania. It really is a must read if you have any interest in politics. Go to: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20120612_Pennsylvania_s_position_in_presidential_politics.html.
On the question of whether Mitt Romney should contest Pennsylvania, political pros seem to be edging toward "No." My gut says those pros are wrong and that their view of what is possible in the next 5 months is shaped too heavily by the last 5 Presidential elections, where the Democratic nominee won the Commonwealth.
Lost in the fact that the Democratic nominee has carried Pennsylvania in the last 5 elections is that Pennsylvania is always close. Not counting the 1972 Nixon blowout, only Barack Obama's 10.32% margin in 2008 reached double figures, though the President topped out at 54.47%.
Every other winner of Pennsylvania has been kept to single digit victory margins.
Bill Clinton carried the state twice by margins of 9% but did not get to 50%, as a result of Perot. The Reagan juggernauts carried Pennsylvania by 7% margins in 1980 and 1984.
Kerry, Gore, George Bush in 1988, and Jimmy Carter in 1976 all won squeakers, with margins between 2% to 4%.
With a history like that, and given how turbulent our times and politics are, Romney makes a mistake if he passes in 2012 on Pennsylvania. But Democrats would be thankful if he does.