PA primary crucial to Senators Clinton, Obama says Gettysburg College prof

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - With Pennsylvania's primary approaching April 22, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will pour millions of dollars into advertising and grassroots efforts across the state to capture the critical urban and youth votes, according to Gettysburg College political science professor Shirley Anne Warshaw.
 
With the hotly contested Democratic primaries in Texas and Ohio over, Clinton has regained momentum with victories in both states and Rhode Island. Obama captured only Vermont, in spite of out spending Clinton in advertising. According to Warshaw, Obama was not able to hold the base he had built in Maryland and Virginia across economic and gender lines.
 
Where does this leave Pennsylvania's 187 delegates on April 22?
 
"Clinton has a slight edge with Governor Edward Rendell championing her candidacy," said Warshaw. "Gov. Rendell, who President Bill Clinton appointed as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has brought in Mary Isenhour, executive director of the state Democratic committee, to run the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania."
 
Among the super delegates, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Rep.
Allyson Schwartz have endorsed Clinton while former Senator Harris Wofford has endorsed Obama.
 
"Clinton will need to protect the Philadelphia political machine to win the primary,"said Warshaw. "But with the endorsement of major labor organizations such as the SEICU and the large minority population of Philadelphia, Obama has a significant opportunity to capture the urban vote or at least hold his own."
 
While the two candidates battle for the urban vote in Philadelphia, they will also be grasping to win the youth vote. According to Warshaw, the candidate who can motivate the youth vote in a state full of college campuses might have the edge. She suspects that college students will be bombarded with Internet ads, Facebook conversations and MoveOn.org briefings. 
 
"The most recent count of Pennsylvania's super delegates gives Clinton an early edge, with 13 of the 26 super delegates committed to her and only two committed to Obama," Warshaw said. "Polling trends over the past few months have consistently shown Clinton ahead with poll numbers varying the lead from 20 to 10 percent. But Obama has made significant inroads and current polls indicate the lead has narrowed to only 6 percent."
 
Can Obama win in Pennsylvania?
 
"Certainly it appears to be an uphill battle for Obama, but as we have seen since January the electorate is very fluid," Warshaw said. "We cannot predict what negatives will emerge for either candidate that will cause a shift in voter expectations and voter support over the next seven weeks. The only safe prediction is that both the Clinton and Obama campaigns will pour millions of dollars into Pennsylvania for advertising and armies of campaign workers will flood the state in numbers that Pennsylvania hasn¹t seen in many years."
 
Is this good for the Democratic Party to have a prolonged primary fight?
 
"Probably not. It gives Senator John McCain time to rebuild his own bridges in the Republican Party, refresh his campaign coffers, and focus on building state organizations for his candidacy. The primary fight in the Democratic Party gives McCain much-needed breathing room after his own bruising primaries," Warshaw said.
 
Warshaw, a presidential scholar, is the author of numerous books on the presidency including the forthcoming book on the Bush presidency, The Copresidency of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (Stanford University Press).
She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, master's degree from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania and doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the presidency research group of the American Political Science Association, Council of Scholars of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Council of Presidential Scholars for Reader's Digest. She is a frequent speaker on NPR and other national media outlets.
 
Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with approximately 2,600 students. It is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.

 

Posted: Wed, 5 Mar 2008

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