Obama and GOP Challengers Dead Heat in PA Fundraising

Don't look now, but President Barack Obama and his Republican challengers are about even in 2011 fundraising in Pennsylvania.  The near split in fundraising shouldn't be encouraging to the President.  The Keystone State has been reliably blue in presidential contests for nearly a generation (George W. Bush was the last Republican presidential nominee to carry the Commonwealth in 1988).  Could Pennsylvania go red in 2012?  At least partly?     

CBS' Philadelphia affiliate reports:

Pennsylvanians donated just over $3 million during the first three-quarters of this year.  President Obama collected $1.5 million of that; the rest was divided among 10 Republican challengers.

The early flow of campaign dollars aren't entirely indicative of where voter sentiment will be in November 2012, but does show that Mr. Obama is struggling in Pennsylvania.  A successful Democrat president should be mopping up contributions in the Commonwealth, especially in Philadelphia and surroundings, which are the drivers for Democrat victories in Pennsylvania.  Mr. Obama won a convincing 55% of the vote against GOP standard-bearer John McCain in Pennsylvania last go-round.      

The CBS affiliate spoke with Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin and Marshall College, and a high profile commentator on Pennsylvania politics.

"The president is literally in a battle for his life in the state," [says Madonna].  [Madonna] says the split in donations mean that Obama has a lot of work to do in the Commonwealth.

"Down in the Philly suburbs, where he did very well [in the 2008 election], now we are finding that they [voters] have a more negative view than positive view, and the fundraising is just an illustration of that," Madonna tells KYW Newsradio.

Compounding President Obama's Pennsylvania blues, GOP Governor Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled state legislature are weighing a measure that would do away with the winner-take-all formula for the Commonwealth's twenty Electoral College votes.  A proportional formula for presidential electors could well split those Pennsylvania votes between Mr. Obama and his eventual GOP rival in 2012.  Such a formula, if enacted, would certainly make the Keystone State a presidential battleground next year.

Mr. Obama's PA blues might just be starting. 




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