Hershey, Pennsylvania: Retail Politics Up Close

Monday, November 05, 2012

In a state most pollsters considered off limits, Mitt Romney and the Republicans say they're playing Pennsylvania for keeps. Barack Obama still leads in the polls, but the television ads have arrived. It's a huge state, boasting 20 electoral votes, which could give an important boost to either candidate. 

Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich headed back to his home town of Hershey, in Central Pennsylvania, for one last battleground report.

The candy business is not booming as it once did, so the economy is looming large for Hershey in this election. For some, this means a vote for Romney, but for many union members it means supporting Barack Obama, since the Democrats have historically been friendlier to labor. 

"Mitt Romney will win Hershey — it's a conservative place, and conservative social values are taken for granted," Zwillich says. "The county and the state though? Both up for grabs."

Though things are still leaning in Obama's favor, the polls have tightened. But is the state really in play?

"There's been a similar pattern over the last several cycles," Zwillich notes. "Bush, McCain have all surged at the end, but no Republican has taken Pennsylvania in a presidential election since 1988." 

Zwillich spoke with Terry Madonna, professor of political science at Franklin and Marshall College, and author of the F&M statewide poll.

"I still think it's a tough haul," Madonna said of Romney's chances of taking Pennsylvania in this election. "Is it doable? Yes. Is it likely? No." 

That won't stop Romney from trying, and it won't stop canvassers for both parties from knocking on doors. 

Guests:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer and Brad Mielke

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