Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
After seeing their state leached of its battleground status swagger, the Pennsylvania GOP says an internal poll justifies a late-campaign surge in TV ads on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The internal poll, conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, shows President Obama leading Romney by just one point.
Rob Gleason, state Republican Party chairman, said he’s shared the poll results with “everyone [he] could,” and, though he said “they’ll have to make their own decisions,” he’s confident of one thing: “There will be TV commercials going up soon, I can say that for sure -- I’m not exactly sure what the volume will be.”
This month, Romney-allied superPACs pulled their money out of the commonwealth, judging it not sufficiently competitive for Romney. Gleason did not specify which group would be behind ads coming to the commonwealth.
Other surveys this week show the Obama with a comfortable and consistent lead. The Philadelphia Inquirer shows Romney behind by 11 points. A Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll sees a nine-point gap. The Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday shows the president eight points ahead.
But Susquehanna pollster Ryan Lee said the dead heat depicted in the internal poll’s results is borne out in other polls being done at the legislative level.
“We don’t have the president leading above his 2008 numbers in any district we’ve surveyed in the past three months, and that’s been 37 House districts that we’ve surveyed in just three months’ time,” Lee said. “So I think I feel confident that the race is very close.”
Even so, Lee pointed out that Romney’s unfavorable rating is still two points higher than his favorable rating.
A state Democratic Party spokesman says it’s no surprise the GOP is making a play for the commonwealth late in the campaign.
The Susquehanna Polling and Research survey was conducted Sept. 15-17 – after the campaigns traded barbs over the Obama administration’s response to protests in the Middle East that resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador, and before video surfaced this week of Romney talked about the “47 percent” of Americans who don’t pay income taxes and are unlikely to vote for him.
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