It seems only yesterday that Republican State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai was telling the GOP state convention that voter ID would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Now, with several polls showing Romney trailing in the Keystone State, his allies are walking away like Phillies fans with their team trailing in the eighth inning.
It emerged Monday that Americans For Prosperity, the conservative nonprofit associated with billionaires David and Charles Koch, had canceled some TV advertising planned for Pennsylvania.
I checked with Muhlenberg College political science professor Chris Borick, and he said if you want to see what campaigns really think about their chances in a swing state, follow the ad buys.
And now, thanks to a recent policy change by the Federal Communications Commission, you can do that online.
The Koch brothers pulling out of Pennsylvania burped into the digital landscape Monday via a Tweet from NBC political director Chuck Todd, who reported they had called off their TV ad buy.
Then the Philadelphia Daily News’ Chris Brennan went to the FCC’s website and found that, indeed, Americans for Prosperity had cancelled ad buys on two Philadelphia TV stations.
A check of the files shows the Romney campaign and its super PAC, Restore Our Future, aren’t investing in TV ads here, either.
Borick notes that this could change. If Romney gets a convention bump and the race tightens, Republicans may come back to spend in Pennsylvania. But for now, he says, they’re acting like investors with choices to make.
“What we’re seeing with consistent polls showing President Obama with a lead from anywhere from five to 10 points, and history of going Democratic in the last five elections,” Borick said, “(is) probably a bit of hesitancy on the part of some major groups and the Romney campaign itself to go all in and put resources into the Commonwealth.”
It should be noted that the Romney campaign still has staff and plans events here, such as last week’s rallies with vice presidential pick Paul Ryan.
Democrats aren’t counting their chickens, of course, and some think it’s a bad thing if Pennsylvania slips further away from swing-state status.
Jake Sternberger writes in “Keystone Politics” that if the Obama campaign starts to shift staff and resources to other states, that’s bad news for other Democratic candidates counting on a robust turnout effort to win.