The Washington Post

Why Pennsylvania? They haven't voted yet

There’s quite a bit of Twitter traffic this afternoon about Mitt Romney’s plans for a late play in Pennsylvania, with speculation about the strategy behind it.

You know what’s special about Pennsylvania? They don’t do any modern early voting there. Just traditional absentee voting.

So even though Romney is roughly twice as far behind in Pennsylvania as he is in Ohio, it’s quite possible that whatever effect late electioneering might have could be larger in the Keystone State, just because it’s a state where Election Day is still really Election Day.

If the polls are correct, Ohio and Pennsylvania are “lean Obama” states, but Ohio is on the border of being a tossup, while Pennsylvania is close to being solid for the incumbent. But what they have in common is that (if one looks at the Huffington Post map) either could, along with the tossup states, get Romney to 270. Now, all of this is unlikely if the polls are correct; for one thing, Romney appears to be slightly behind in Virginia and Colorado and barely ahead in Florida. He would need all three, plus either Ohio or Pennsylvania, to win. That’s unlikely. But it’s probably more likely than picking off a combination of smaller lean (or solid) Obama states.

Either way, it’s highly unlikely that a small amount of last-minute targeting matters much. But if they have the money, they might as well try — and it makes sense to go for the states that haven’t actually voted yet.


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