Will the GOP’s resurgence in Pennsylvania last year help a Republican presidential nominee carry the state for the first time in a quarter century? Eh, maybe not.
In a recent Muhlenberg College poll of registered voters in the state, Obama comfortably topped three leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. The results suggest that despite Pennsylvania voters flocking to Republican candidates in last year’s midterm elections, they’re unlikely to do so again when it comes to 2012.In the poll of potential match-ups, Obama led Mitt Romney 43% to 36%, and topped Mike Huckabee 44% to 34%. Sarah Palin also trailed the President, but by a massive 28-point margin, 53% to 25%.
Romney, Huckabee, and Palin have consistently led in polls of a potential Republican primary, Yet if one of them were to get the party nod, they would have a tough time claiming Pennsylvania for the GOP for the first time since George H. W. Bush did so in 1988. Obama also led each of those three candidates, albeit by slightly slimmer margins, in a January PPP poll.
Last year, Pennsylvania Democrats lost control of the governor’s office, a U.S. Senate seat, and their majority in the state’s House. That sharp turn against Democrats had some wondering whether Pennsylvania could become a critical swing state in 2012.
In 2008, Obama won Pennsylvania by about 10 points, 54% to 44%, over John McCain.
The Muhlenberg poll was conducted February 9-28 among 395 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 5.5%.