Why Pennsylvania is Key Among Battleground States This Election
President trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in two, thousand sixteen and the state is shaping up to be an even harder fought battleground this time. Around we turn now to our national political reporter John McCormack Hi John. Hi, thanks for having me. So John Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned even among the battleground states in terms of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout. What can you tell us? Well, we did a data analysis looking at the unemployment compared to a year earlier and also the. Deaths per capita for every county in America what we found when we did that analysis was that a Pennsylvania among the battleground states has the largest proportion of counties that fall into both of those unfortunate pockets has a lot of counties that have unemployment rates that are in double digits much higher than a year ago because of the pandemic and it also. Has a good number of counties that have deaths per capita rates that are in the top twenty percent of all counties. So we we looked at both of these benchmarks to try to get a sense for you know which battleground state is sort of suffering the most pain right now related to the pandemic in Pennsylvania really stands out in in those rankings. Let's dig into some specific county as you call Bucks County in suburban Philadelphia a battleground within a battleground. Tell us more about that what's happening there? Yes. So the unemployment rate in in Bucks County, which is just outside of Philadelphia. It's nine point seven percent, and that's more than double what it was a year ago and we used your ago figures because there's a season -ality. Unemployment rates, and so we looked at what was the unemployment rate a year ago for the same month and then compared to that that month this year and bucks is a county that Democrats and Republicans have fought over very closely. In recent elections. Hillary Clinton wanted by eight tenths of one percentage point I was simply like three or four thousand votes in A. County that is home to about six, hundred, twenty, eight, thousand people, and so it is a place that gets a lot of attention. Every presidential election cycle it has an area called lower box, which is in the southern end of the county and is a little grittier more industrial and certainly more densely populated, and there's a lot of white working class voters in that area. You know really rallied around Donald. Trump. In two, thousand, sixteen in his campaign of course hopes that they'll rally around him again in this presidential election. So it's a big county. It's a complex county, has a real widespread in terms of soda sort of socio economics, and we'll be intensely fought over by the way former vice president Joe Biden will be going there on Saturday. We all know he hasn't been doing a lot of on the ground campaigning this summer and fall, but he's starting to do more of it and one of his stops this weekend will be in bucks. County. So that indicates it's important. You anticipated my next question. How are the dynamics you just described influencing how president trump and Joe Biden are approaching Pennsylvania especially in the final days of this election and how does that compare to what saw in the candidate approach to Pennsylvania in two? Thousand Sixteen Yeah Well Twenty Sixteen. There was a lot of emphasis on Pennsylvania as well. Hillary Clinton held her national political convention in the summer in Philadelphia. So that was an indication of how important the state was back then as well. Of course, president trump won the state very narrow sort of as part of his you know northern Great Lakes, trifecta Pennsylvania Michigan Wisconsin that really sealed the presidency for 'em and So it's important. Again, this time Joe Biden's headquarters is in his campaign headquarters is in Philadelphia, and when you look at the the television reservations that are in place for both campaigns between now and the election Pennsylvania on a dollars per electoral vote basis in other words if you look at all the advertising spending that's going to be going on in Pennsylvania and the next week and a half if you then divide by how many electoral votes each state has and sort of do the math on that Pennsylvania ranks right at the top specially for Joe Biden in terms of places where he's going to put a lot of dollars on television screens in the coming days. So John Given, everything we've just talked about just how key is Pennsylvania going to be in this election let's arguably the most important battleground state. Now obviously, Florida's is also very important twenty seven electoral votes, but Pennsylvania has twenty and it's sort of viewed as critical for both of these candidates from Vice President Joe Biden is from Pennsylvania. You know if if he can't win the state that was born in that, that does have a lot of sort of working class that he's trying to appeal to that could be pretty telling in terms of what happens on election night. So it'll be very much watched. Some of the outside groups that are trying to influence the presidential race they sorta described Pennsylvania as. Camel's back. They feel like if if trump can't win Pennsylvania then there's really probably know path for him. It's always dangerous to say those sorts of things because you know like anything there can be surprises in in different combinations of these states can add up to the two hundred and seventy that you need to win. But certainly, a lot of eyes will be on Pennsylvania and a lot of resources and time will be going into the state in the next week and a half before the Election Wall Street. Journal. National, political reporter John, McCormick John Thank you so much for being here today.