Here's Why Romney's "Late Play for Pennsylvania" Didn't Work

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 5 2012 4:07 PM

Here's Why Romney's "Late Play for Pennsylvania" Didn't Work

Ruy Teixeria and John Halpin are out with a report-cum-victory lap on the 2012 election's demographics. Basically, they predicted the whole election when they predicted what colors of voters would come out, and how many of them Obama might win.

There's plenty to study here, but my favorite obvious-in-retrospect data comes from Pennsylvania. Recall that the Romney campaign made a late push there, sending the candidates and some TV money, in part because of Obama's alleged collapse with white voters and the gettability of suburbanites. There was no great movement of suburbanites.

President Obama did very well in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, carrying the region 65 percent to 34 percent, a decline of only 3 points from his vote margin in 2008. He also just about broke even in the Pittsburgh metro area (49 percent to 50 percent), a 4-point decline from his 2008 margin. Both of these margin decreases were less than his statewide decline.
Advertisement

This was what confused me about the Romney strategy in the rust belt/Appalachian states. Romney ran hard in coal country, and his final menu of Pennsylvania ads warned voters that Obama would keep fighting a war on coal. There aren't enough voters who care about coal! Romney and Super PACs never figured out how to appeal to moderate suburbanites, people who voted for Bush 41 then broke Democratic for 20 years.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 30 2014 10:10 AM A Lovable Murderer and Heroic Villain: The Story of Australia's Most Iconic Outlaw
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal. But… What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.