Skip to main content

Pennsylvania is a mixture of Appalachian, Northeastern Megalopolis, and Midwestern voting patterns. Kerry won it by 2, Obama by 11, and Obama looks like he will win it by 8-12 points this year. It does not appear that Pennsylvania is moving rapidly right or left according these presidential results. Outside of presidential elections, Democrats have difficulty holding the coalition together statewide. Most of us know that the Philadelphia suburbs are moving left, and the counties around Pittsburgh (suburban, exurban, or rural) are moving right. But there are other regions of the state that are undergoing change. To further study these details, I made maps of the Pennsylvania counties by age and % Democratic voter registration. I ignored unaffiliated voter registration, although new registrants are twice as likely to register as independents compared to the overal population.


TOTAL: 453,996 Democrats, 375,643 Republicans

Overall, the age group of 75+ has strong Democratic voter registration. Of course if you look at the exit polls in 2008, it is clear that by now many of them are conservadems. The old statewide coalition for Democrats is plain to see - Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh and the coal regions, Scranton (Lackawanna County) and Erie. Republicans had the Philadelphia suburbs, Harrisburg, Centre County (home of Penn State), Lancaster, and the rural northern tier.


TOTAL: 471,543 Democrats, 393,037 Republicans

And so it begins. Democratic voter registration starts to wane around Pittsburgh and grow in Philadelphia suburbs. There is erosion of Democratic strength in the Lehigh Valley, but improvement in Harrisburg and Centre County. Similarly strong Democratic registration overall in this group.


TOTAL: 768,987 Democrats, 573,508 Republicans

The boomers are a good age group for Democrats in Pennsylvania. Democrats hold the line around Pittsburgh, recover a bit in the Lehigh Valley, and make some much-needed inroads into Lancaster County.


TOTAL: 764,107 Democrats, 658,804 Republicans

This is the worst age group for Democratic registration. Registration falters again in the Lehigh Valley, western Pennsylvania experiences a precipitous drop, there is no improvement in the Philadelphia suburbs, and central Pennsylvania turns an ugly shade of bright red again.


TOTAL: 645,380 Democrats, 484,362 Republicans

Here is where the registration statistics start to move inexorably toward Democrats. The Philadelphia suburbs and the Lehigh Valley take a sharp turn left, central Pennsylvania remains red, and western Pennsylvania continues to deteriorate. Notably, Dauphin county (Harrisburg) now has 55%+ Democratic registration.


TOTAL: 714,833 Democrats, 405,337 Republicans

Woo. Democrats really start to crush Republicans in registration with this generation (mine!). Every county in the Philadelphia region now has 55%+ Democratic registration - they have come a long way. Blue coloring makes a welcome appearance in the Lehigh Valley. Harrisburg suburbs in York and Cumberland counties begin to become more liberal. Bright red almost disappears entirely from the map, except for in a few underpopulated counties.


TOTAL: 354,870 Democrats, 202,869 Republicans

Let the good times roll. The youngest generation is just as Democratic as its immediate elders. There is further erosion in the southwest, and Democrats cannot seem to stop the bleeding there. But that is the only weak spot. Montgomery county in the Philadelphia suburbs now has a 2:1 Democratic registration advantage. Monroe County on the New Jersey border turns blue. Lancaster county continues its march toward registation parity. Probably the most surprising development for me, is a Democratic turnaround in the interior northwest. Indiana, Clearfield, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, and Forest counties all move left!

Republicans cannot rely on the southwest to save them. Almost every other region of Pennsylvania shows improvements for Democrats among the youngest voters. The Philadelphia suburbs continue to move left, with little of evidence of stopping. The Lehigh Valley continues to move left, probably with an assist from a growing Latino population. Monroe County's New York transplants are really making a difference. I thought Obama's improvement in Cumberland-York-Lancaster might be temporary, but the statistics suggest otherwise. In the youngest group in York county, 48% are Democratic registrants. Swingy Berks county, home of Reading, is slowly moving left. Allegheny county gave Obama a rather unimpressive 57-42 victory in 2008, but Democratic registration is slowly improving. I think Republicans have a hit a wall in Allegheny. Erie, Centre, Dauphin, and Philadelphia counties continue to move left slowly. The big cities are not letting us down.

For the next decade the districts of Dent (PA-15), Meehan (PA-07), Gerlach (PA-06), Fitzpatrick (PA-08), and Pitts (PA-16) will remain or become competitive. Mike Kelly's (PA-03) district will stagnate as Pittsburgh suburbs move right, and Erie moves left. PA-04, PA-05, and PA-11 are not especially competitive right now, but if Republicans cannot stop the bleeding in Erie, Elk, Centre, Clinton, Luzerne, Cumberland, York, and Dauphin counties they will be by the end of the decade.

If Mark Critz wins PA-12 this year, or if Larry Maggi wins PA-18, their days will probably be numbered. PA-09 and PA-10 will remain uncompetitive. Indiana county's surprising inclusion in hard-right PA-09 probably shows that Republicans acknowledge problems there.

Originally posted to redrelic17 on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 03:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Youth Kos 2.0.


How many districts will Democrats pick up in Pennsylvania this year?

26%18 votes
23%16 votes
26%18 votes
11%8 votes
13%9 votes

| 69 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  thought you might find this article (10+ / 0-)


    Pennsylvania Democrats use loophole to beat Voter Suppression Law
  •  Thanks for this great analysis redrelic17. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redrelic17, dufffbeer, atdnext

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:13:45 PM PDT

  •  It's great to see things moving (5+ / 0-)

    but it's frustrating that every 10 years the GOP gets to gerrymander us and gets a much higher percentage of the Congressional seats than they would if districts were allocated without making them look like Rorshach inkblots.

    Is PA-07 really going to be competitive? I mean, I can't tell what is going on in my district. That whole section on the left, especially. I've never even been to most of those places.

    There's smart, and there's K-mart smart. Sarah Palin is K-mart smart.

    by InsultComicDog on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:23:40 PM PDT

    •  redistricting nonsense (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emidesu, dufffbeer, InsultComicDog

      What a joke of a district.  I lived just north of Oley for the past 8 years, which is at the very top end of the left side of your district.  That left section is very heavily right wing, with several militia groups running around.  It looks like they took a GOP chunk out of the Democratic strongholds of Reading and Pottstown.
      I've also lived previously in the far right side of that district (Lafayette Hill).  I can tell you with absolute certainty that Lafayette Hill and Oley have absolutely nothing in common.  Most people in those two places have never been to the other, and more than likely couldn't locate them on a map.
      I've since moved back to the Lehigh Valley, so I'm back in Charlie Dent's district.  I'm kind of hoping the president's coattails sweep Dent out of office, but I'm not confident about that at all.

      •  Well, I'm certainly familiar with Lafayette Hill (0+ / 0-)

        but not Oley.

        I live near the top of the right side of the district, in an area which was previously in Allyson Schwartz's district (13).

        There's smart, and there's K-mart smart. Sarah Palin is K-mart smart.

        by InsultComicDog on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:37:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When in Lafayette Hill be sure to visit Ye Olde (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          InsultComicDog, Woody

          Ale House. Handcarved roast beef sandwiches in front of you on the island, and especially either the Continental french fries or gravy fries. And travel the world (just not all on one visit) with the beers. :) It's about a mile outsede the city on Germantown Pike.

          "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

          by TofG on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 01:45:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If young people turn out, we win (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emidesu, InsultComicDog, atdnext

      Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Berks are green or better up to age 34.  Just Delaware, Montgomery and Berks are yellow or better up to age 64.

  •  Don't know Penn papers.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emidesu, InsultComicDog

    Over in Freeperville they're very sure that the MSM is 'in the bag' for the D's and the only poll to be trusted is the Rass poll. Saw that this paper says they have a poll w/ Obama only up by two in Pennslyvania....any reason to worry? Please tell me that this is a RW rag and that they're manifpulating the numbers?

    Two percentage points separate President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a state poll conducted for the Tribune-Review, even though the campaigns largely are ignoring Pennsylvania and concentrating on other battlegrounds.

    Obama polled 47 percent to Romney's 45 percent among likely Pennsylvania voters, with 6 percent of voters undecided and 44 days until Election Day, according to the survey by Susquehanna Polling & Research. The survey of 800 voters, conducted Sept. 18-20, has a margin of error of 3.46 percentage points.

    Link is at:
    Read more:

    "I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass." -Don Henley.

    by Olkate on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 04:30:45 PM PDT

    •  The Trib (5+ / 0-)

      is owned by super right winger kook, Richard Mellon Scaife.  I won't even physically touch it.  I think he is posting a defective or skewed poll.  But I am not worried enough to research or care about it.  

      Everyone! Arms akimbo!

      by tobendaro on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:14:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Should have known.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro, atdnext

        I didn't see internals...not that I really understand how to dissect the internal. But as Freeperville was high fiving the poll results...I should have figured it was a RWNJ paper.

        Thanks for clarifying.

        I shall resume breathing. :)

        "I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass." -Don Henley.

        by Olkate on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:21:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even Nate Silver said the poll was sketchy. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tobendaro, atdnext, Woody

          In his new piece, he talks about Susquehanna being a firm that polls for Republican clients (like SCAIFE), and how they've been the only firm showing a close race in PA, even having Romney ahead there in their last poll. Silver doesn't mention Scaife, but he implies the connection between Susquehanna and the Tribune-Review, which is a right wing paper, owned by Scaife.

        •  Virtually every other pollster... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Has Obama up either high single digits or low double digits in The Keystone State. Even Razzy can only muster a mid single digit Obama lead at worst! IMHO Pennsylvania is now Likely Dem. Hopefully once the voter ID law suit is resolved, that will be it for Romney there.

      •  Here's my theory: these bs polls are for a reason: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro, atdnext

        My suspicion is this: I think we're going to be seeing more fake polls like this done by right wing-owned publications and polling firms as the election draws nearer - specifically in swing states where voter purges, anti-registration efforts and voter ID laws are in place - and this is why: I think there could be a plan in place to create phony polls by the right to make the race look as close in possible in these states in order for the anti-voter laws to do what they're designed to do: keep minorities from voting. That way, when millions of Hispanics, for example (see the below report that shows over 6.5 million Hispanics not registered to vote), as well as African-Americans and college students, weren't able to vote, and Romney wins the state, they can point to these fake polls (like the one mentioned above by Scaife) and say, "what do you mean? See, it was close!") - that's really what I think is going on here. I'm gonna be looking out for more outlier polls done by papers with right wing connections as the next few weeks go by to test my theory.

    •  let me put it this way (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dufffbeer, gizmo59, ramesh, atdnext

      if PA was really within 2 points, and the voter ID thing was possibly going to swing the election to a possible Romney victory... if it were even remotely that close, why has there not been a single Romney or GOP PAC ad here for Romney since the middle of August?

      It's not like they can't afford it. I have to think they simply don't want to throw their money away.

      There's smart, and there's K-mart smart. Sarah Palin is K-mart smart.

      by InsultComicDog on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:45:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jncca, emidesu, bumiputera, atdnext

    It would be really cool to have this information presented in his fashion for all the sates. Makes it really easy to see the change that is going on.

    Farm boy, 20, who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -6.00, -3.54, I finally get a chance to do something my parents have done for years- vote against Tommy Thompson!!!! Tammy Baldwin for US Senate!!!!!

    by WisJohn on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:17:52 PM PDT

  •  This is both helpful and encouraging. (0+ / 0-)

    Now I see why we're stronger this year than in 2008. Of course we will work to turn out every Dem voter!
    Thank you.

    The founding fathers knew of the mutually corrupting influences of Church and state, wisely sending them to opposite corners.

    by emidesu on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:35:36 PM PDT

  •  Wow, beautiful maps. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I love stats like these.  Thanks.

    Hail to the king, baby.

    by KingofSpades on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 05:52:11 PM PDT

  •  explains why the 2010 wave hit suburban philly bad (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redrelic17, jncca, sawolf, ramesh, atdnext

    because only old people vote in midterm elections.

  •  Wonderful diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Loved, loved this. The maps, the analysis...great job!

    Why is there no "0" option in the survey question though. I think Kathy Boockvar misses victory by a few points but there's no D seat likely to go Republican. Is it related to redistricting?

    20, Male, Hispanic, originally OK-1 (Tulsa: The Art Deco, Terracotta, and Cultural Gem of the Ozarks!), currently at Princeton University

    by gigantomachyusa on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:19:24 PM PDT

  •  Lehigh Valley. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

     Here is an interesting story on the Lehigh Valley's ethnic/political changes. Students for a New American Politics!

    by redrelic17 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 08:13:22 AM PDT

    •  good article, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      They left out a very, very important factor that took place in the Lehigh Valley.  I grew up in the Lehigh Valley, and I just recently moved back.  I was in middle/junior high school during the Reagan years, and I started to think I was the only Democrat left.  The LV was very Republican in those days, and they loved their Reagan.  The problem is that the Reagan/GOP union busting ways wreaked havoc in the LV.  Huge union shop companies that paid very good wages to people with high school educations (General Electric, Bethlehem Steel, Western Electric, Mack Trucks, etc.) all disappeared from the area in the 80's.  Many people here who loved Reagan still blame the Republican Party for the decline of industry in the LV.  Mack Trucks is the only one of the companies I mentioned that's still around, but it is a very small shell of what it once was.  I agree that the demographics are changing, but a lot of the old, white Republicans are still here, they just don't buy what today's GOP is selling.

  •  "Demographic Destiny"... (0+ / 0-)

    So far seems to be manifesting itself in a strange and mixed way in PA. But all in all, I'm starting to sense that Dems will at least make small net gains in the future there. The Pittsburgh area (outside the city itself) keeps drifting to the right, yet the Philly area and the Lehigh Valley keep drifting to the left.

  •  Now this is a useful diary (0+ / 0-)

    Talking about what is actually being done to deal with voter registration and vote surpression, as opposed to obligatory concern trolling hand wringing comments about both that appears in every positive polling diary

  •  Nice maps (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think this is really interesting.  

    Maybe one more thing to include is this nugget, which makes the bad news for Dems less bad and the good news for Dems even better, the census populationg rowth trend.

    I know there is the belief that it's Dems switching to the GOP in Western PA, but in a lot of cases i think part of the trend is that Dems are either dying or moving away.  The clout of the Western PA GOP areas is rapidly waning, and yet places like Philadelphia and lackawanna counties finally stopped showing population losses in the 2010 census.  

    If growing areas trend Democratic and, highly Demcoratic areas stop losing population (or grow even), the GOP will be doomed in national elections.  Just imagine how bad a fair Congressional map would be for the GOP in 2012.

    Now the puzzle is, how to get Philadelphians to vote in off year elections (sigh).

    "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

    by rdw72777 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 07:48:29 AM PDT

  •  We need every Democrat to come out and vote. (0+ / 0-)

    I think we can gain 3 seats if people show up.

    Thanks for all this work-this is a very informative post that actually gave me a little better understanding of my beloved, goofy state.


    Retired AFSCME Steward and licensed gun carrying progressive veteran.

    by old mark on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 10:34:56 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site