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If John McCain is surging in Pennsylvania, it remains under the radar

“I think Pennsylvania seems really close," John McCain's political director, Mike DuHaime, told The Times' Maeve Reston and other reporters Tuesday as he gave a "state of the race" briefing that made the case -- as he gets paid to do -- for how his candidate can pull off an election day upset. Democrat Barack Obama campaigns in Pennsylvania earlier this week

In this scenario, Pennsylvania emerged as the linchpin earlier this month -- the key "blue" state that McCain could carry to offset potential losses in "red" states and still accumulate enough electoral votes to win the White House.

Even before the most recent assessment from DuHaime, he and other McCain aides have been insisting that their internal polling and other information showed Pennsylvania was competitive -- which is why McCain and Sarah Palin keep stumping in the state.

As of now, those claims continue to fly in the face of a massive amount of public polling data.

Pennsylvania has become one of the campaign's most minutely surveyed state, and if there's the type of movement toward McCain that his campaign keeps talking about, any number of pollsters will have to revisit how they do their jobs.

One of those will be the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which today released a survey noteworthy for its large sample -- 1,364 likely voters in the Keystone State. That's double the number used in many other polls and gives the survey a low error margin -- plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

The survey gave Barack Obama a 12-point lead over McCain, 53% to 41%. That's virtually unchanged from institute's Pennsylvania poll earlier this month, which found Obama ...



... with 53%, McCain 40%. lists the results from Quinnipiac and seven other polls conducted in Pennsylvania within the Oct. 20-28 time period, and Obama's leads range from 7 points to 14 points. In five of the surveys, Obama's advantage is in double digits, and in two others it's 9 points.

The survey showing the 7-point lead, by Rasmussen Reports, does offer some reason for hope for McCain. The pollsters note that the margin "is half the 13-point advantage Obama enjoyed early in October."

But they add: "However, while McCain has closed the gap, virtually all the movement comes from an increase in his support rather than a loss of support for Obama. This is the third straight poll showing Obama’s support at or above the 50% level.

And that, ultimately, is the number that truly matters.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Bloomberg News

Comments () | Archives (29)

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The polls are as corrupt as the politicians.

Heh, yeah, way under the radar... He's confident in the republican party's talent at election stealing tactics (a combination of vote suppression and Diebold machines).

I truly wonder if they are going to be stupid enough to try to steal it again this year, with the polling margins as wide as they are and many, many, more eyes watching this time. If they are stupid enough to really try, that'll be McCain's miracle win. The problem for them, is this time we'll catch them and heads will roll.

Otherwise, McCain has no chance.

The LA Times has done everything it can do to promote McCain. And it is not working ... Maybe it's time to dial back the big GOP support / Free ride for McCain and get everyone in the real world world on board...

I will say this. I live in a LARGELY Democratic area, and yet this election I have seen numerous signs for McCain, it's an equal amount fo Obama. I also know of many Democrats who are voting for McCain, or are not voting at all because Clinton isn't on the ballot. It may seem as though Obama is headed for a clear win in PA, but I wouldn't take it for granted.

I've looked at thousands of polls encompassing every single state. While there are questions of methodology, turnout and all sorts of other things, there remains one and only one way that McCain can somehow win this election. And it will remain McCain's one and only hope for the rest of this election.

That one way is if Obama voters don't vote. If they do--and every early polling metric shows that they are--there is absolutely no way for McCain to win this election. And if you think otherwise, tune in on election night. Obama will win, and Republicans will be making excuses. Again. Because that's what losers do.

This is just the run-up. On November 4, John McCain will win PA by less than 1%. All the exit polls will show Obama winning, but, mysteriously, the vote count will suddenly shift and McCain will have picked up enough votes in urban areas to win.

Oh wait, that couldn't happen. It didn't happen in Ohio. And nothing happened in Florida.

Why do you think we're seeing vote flipping machines all over the country, including Pennsylvania. Wake up America. Your votes haven't counted since 2000 and they won't count this year.. The GOP has the fix in with the election machine companies.

Just a note to say that although, I am a Obama man, I am sick to death of all this .
Please lets not heatr the name of Sen.John Mcbush after next week. PLease Ms Palin go home to Nome or what ever igloo you crawled out of... You have got more on your plate there than you say grace over. If we need a Hockey paying pig coach with lip stick we will let you know We will miss your little folksy " Gotchas"but thank God but we will survive thank you .Asfar as 2012 well I am 70 years old so I will be gone or in the nursing home and I wont be able to reach the TV from my wheel chair. THanks for the memories but even more thanks that "thank God and greyhound your gone.:"

Socialism has never worked in China, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea. we don't see how it works in America. Mr Obama, you are going to waste your time!

Glad I'm too old for military duty, that politician as CIC is embarrassing. Come on America.....Don't sell out to that anti-American phony.

Spreading wealth will invite more people to depend on the government and at the same time, eliminate investors who think the government will take a big chunk out of their profits.

At this point, Sen. McCain can't even be sure he'll win his home state...let alone Pennsylvania. Of course the McCain campaign is out to try to spin things its way (e.g., 'I have Sen. Obama just where I want him...'). Such rhetoric doesn't cost Sen. McCain a dime, so why not see if he can get someone to believe it? In reality? It's Sen. McCain 'whistling in the dark.''

I hope and pray the good folks of Pennsylvania,Ohio, Virginia,Florida, and North Carolina can look at mess the republicans have reeked, the venom, the will to squeeze power from the people and the land. Please do not be fooled again by fear,smear, and rhetoric, its all McCain has to offer,no ideas, no solutions.I ama55 year old southern white male,I will proudly vote for the Obama/Biden ticket.

"under the radar?"
Guess the pollsters and media are finally taking into account all of us (according to Obama) "Bitter Americans- clinging to our our guns and religion."
And John Murtha- calling Pennsylvanians racists and rednecks.

The VOTERS go to the polls- and we are angry with the mainstream media perpetraing a FRAUD on America.
The FRAUD - is Barack Obama.

This is a plant...the fix is in for PA and this is the rationale that will be used after the fraud. How lame is the media for not seeing through this!!!!

If McCain is surging I haven't seen any signs of it.

Even some of my Republican friends have said that it's over..... They're not happy with how McCain has run his campaign or with whom McCain chose as a running mate.

Pallin can schlep herself back to Alaska and I hope I never hear about her again. She needs immediate medical attention to have her meds adjusted. Those medical records should have been released back in September; I guess they cannot find an MD in Alaska to fix them up.

Mc Cain can crawl back to the Senate under his desk with playmate Liebermann and be shunned.

They have no character.

McCain/Palin will lose. They are dangerous to this country and the future of America. When will they stop embarrassing themselves?????????

Remember when Carl Rove said Republicans would gain seats in 2004, despite the polls? When he was told that the math was in favor of the Democrats gaining seats, he argued he had "different" "better" math.
We all know what happened in 2004.
Now the Republicans are telling us that despite all the polls, MCain is actually surging ahead.

Is Obama getting a little nervous that people are really getting to know him not from what he says but by his history? He sure is wasting a lot of someones money for someone who is supposed to be ahead.

joe the plumber
drill baby drill
We are different from Bush
Obama is a socialist

This is the entire McCain/Palin platform
Not much, and falling flat very quickly

I am a old (61) veteran too. I served on the DMZ in Korea while the crew of the USS Pueblo was being held up north. I am a Civil War buff and you who may have visited those CW sites on the internet know those credentials indicate I am a red necked super neocon.

Well, I AM all those things and more BUT I am also a liberal and a Democrat. And I am for Obama by a huge margin.

Yesterday I heard the "hero" Senator McCain say "I don't know if there is anything to it, but WHY does his campaign have all these annonymous donations and Why doesn't the LA Times or his campaign release the video od the party?"

He had the look of an angel on his face. Yet HE knows the Obama campaign does not have ANY LEGAL CONRTOL over a tape held by the newspaper. They cannot "release" it. They don'thave it.

AND he knows the Obama campaign is "releasing" the names of the same type of donors HIS OWN campaign releases. In the case of the pre-paid credit c ard donations, they cannot get the names BEFORE processing and so have released them AFTER processing. AND McCain gets donations from obviously fake names too. Like McKoo, Sentor Cane ETC.

He has gone from integrity to the bottom of bottom fish.

When everyone who earns less than $250,000 starts to see their taxes go up, I hope that their little romantic bubble surrounding one of the most liberal senators in the country bursts. It's just a matter of time until your taxes go up--there's no other way he can pay for the programs he plans, and he will agree with Pelosi and Reed and Frank with their massive spending and tax programs. Then you'll get to see what it feels like when part of your family's income is taken and given to people who do not even pay income taxes (I think that's called WELFARE);be sure to smile and think of your rosey-colored infomercial that you gushed over. and how wonderful you feel being "part of History." Brace's just a matter of time until you get what you deserve if he gets in.

Democrats are the most corrupt group in America...Maybe ACORN can make up a few more names...I wonder if these numbers account for all of the phony names and addresses the democrats are imposing on the system. It is sad, very, very sad.

Anthony, Acorn can registrar all the names they want, but very few after get to vote in they are fraudulent, I would be more concerned with the purging of the voter rolls. It seems like to many governors, and head of election boards, just purge them for no good reason. If there is a big discrepancy, find out why, but just to purge them because they feel like it is wrong, but if there is a middle name that is spelled out Robert, and you licensee say Bob, and they don't let you vote, to me that is a joke.

I would hope all Americans could visit Arlington National Cemetary to see all the white crosses as far as the eye can see and feel the souls of the dead in this sacred place.
We all should spend time with the people that gave their lives in defense of the United
States of America and freedom. We need to ask them when they went to war, did they go to fight for a free people or a socialist society? Then go to the Vietnam memorial and ask the same question, then the WWI and WWII memorials and ask that question. We all know the answer, they died in war for our freedom.
Now people are going to vote for a socialist.
For those that pull the lever for Barack Hussein Obama it is an act of treason against the men and women that gave their lives for a free country.
Any veteran, veterans family member or friend that votes for the socialist Obama, in my opinion, is an enemy of the United States of America!

JOHN MCCAIN WAS NOT MY PICK, BUT COMPARED TO OBAMA HE IS WONDERFUL. THE # 1 thing that concerns me is safety for our country, McCain gets that vote!! WHAT else matters if we are not safe.

Obama is a liar, he hasn't told the truth about anything.
He talks a good talk and all you liberals believe it. He's not a leader he's a radical with no experience at all. As far as the military, I guess the President doesna't need any military experience anymore. But he's going to "SAVE" us. Well. God help you when something else happens in this country. See if your knight in shining armor is going to help you. He's a disgrace

The comment of William D. Wilday is very offensive to me! To use the death of our heroes who are buried in the Arlington National Cemetery to support the strictly partisan republican point of view is beyond me and most Americans who will punish such "treason", to use Mr. Wilday's word. At least before you start your scare tactics, it would be good if you opened up the dictionary under socialism and then make your arguments as to how what Obama pursues is socialism. Enough! We have been called "stupid" one time too many!

i am so tired of republicans bringing up the spread the wealth quote when their leader helped to mastermind a 700 billion dollar giveaway recently that basically will go to banker dividend and bonus plans.

when the poor receive money its welfare
when the rich receive money its called saving the country.

i hope tuesday doesn't turn into another great heist similar to the last 2 we've watched over the past 8 years but i wouldn't be surprised.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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