Monday, June 27, 2016

In crucial Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton has a very serious “Bell Weather County” problem



By Kevin “Coach” Collins

Embedded in a lengthy article appearing in Politico Magazine that clearly laid out the deep trouble Hillary Clinton is in as she tries to win over voters in Pennsylvania, was a warning that it is Donald Trump who is in trouble in the Keystone State.

Not surprisingly “these warning words of wisdom” came from the director for the Center of Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who said, “There just aren’t enough rural voters to put him over the top. In this state, a Republican has got to appeal to moderate Republicans and Republican voters in the southeast part of the state, who are mostly educated and mostly affluent. And I don’t know that we’re seeing that sort of appeal from Trump.” Would we expect any other sort of analysis from a college faculty member?

He pointed out Barack Obama won Pennsylvania while carrying just 12 of the State’s 67 counties implying Trump couldn’t do better than the hapless Mitt Romney. Had he paid attention to the survey done in Luzerne County Pennsylvania showing that Trump is leading by 17 points he might have rethought his statement. But of course that wouldn’t fit his preconceived narrative of protecting the Democrat.

In the last three presidential elections, Luzerne has tracked very closely to the overall statewide vote. Luzerne’s vote was a virtual mirror of the state as a whole.  The average differential between Luzerne’s vote and the statewide numbers over this period has been approximately one percentage point. As Luzerne votes, so goes Pennsylvania.    

More than this, a dispassionate review of the numbers shows more math problems for Clinton.

A recent Fox News Latino survey shows just 52% of Black voters supporting Clinton. This is about 38 points less than the average Democrat presidential candidate has received over the last forty years.  These numbers, combined with a 22% “undecided” bloc of Black voters, show Trump can realistically win the urban counties that have tilted Pennsylvania to Democrats for decades. Moreover Trump is getting just what he needs (37%) among Hispanics; and this makes his victory in Pennsylvania still more likely.

Aside from trailing Trump by an alarming 17 points in Luzerne County, Clinton is upside down there with unfavorable/favorable numbers of 57/36.  The chances of her turning “Bell Weather” Luzerne around are slim to none.

There are “Bell Weather” county problems for Hillary Clinton in Ohio, Nevada and North Carolina as well, so yes there are enough rural counties across the country to carry Trump to the White House.

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