State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Expert: PA swing looking more realistic

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jul 26, 2016 8:48 PM
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Republican nominee Donald Trump arriving in Pennsylvania for an event last month. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania hasn't voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988.

Wilkes University political science professor Thomas Baldino said that pattern has a lot to do with the state's shifting demographics--its Republican population has declined in the last decade or so.

But with polls showing a tight race and both candidates planning campaign events this week, Baldino said that although he's always skeptical of predictions saying the Keystone State will swing right, this year there's a better chance it could really happen.

He said the election is redrawing the usual party lines, and in Pennsylvania, that makes it harder to predict where the race will go.

"Trump carried the state pretty handily in the primary," he said. "What he did that no Republican had done in a long time was pick up votes in my area and in the southwest, which are the Democratic voters who are white, older, and working-class. And they are angry."

That anger, he noted, is largely directed at the perceived political establishment, and boils down to a few key issues:

"Some of that, that anger, is directed towards businessmen, who they believe have shipped their jobs overseas, some of it is directed at Obama for selling out America, for making America weak, and they're worried about immigration," he said.

Baldino, who's based in Wilkes-Barre, also said the candidates themselves have some power in determining which states are important in the election.

And right now, he said that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seem to think Pennsylvania's the place to be.

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