Thursday, October 09, 2008

Philadelphia Flyers Campaign For McCain-Palin

The Philadelphia Inquirer notes today that Governor Earmark will be dropping the ceremonial first puck at the opening game of the regular season of the National Hockey League's Philadelphia Flyers. The Inquirer reports

Last month, after Palin spoke in her acceptance speech about being a hockey mom, the Flyers launched a search for the area's "ultimate hockey mom." The winner will be on the ice with Palin for the faceoff.

Ed Snider, who as Comcast-Spectacor chairman runs the Flyers, said this appearance at the Wachovia Center "has nothing to do with politics. This is to have some fun with the fabulous statement she made."

You might think the characterization of Palin's remark as "the fabulous statement" might betray a partisan preference on the part of the multimillionaire Snider. Especially if you kew that Snider attended a reception for Palin in Philadelphia on the night of the first debate between the two presidential nominees and has contributed a total of $25,000 to the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Unfortunately, the Alaska governor probably will receive a "fabulous" reception from the overwhelmingly white, predominately conservative, fans. And although Palin's beneficial , such as it is, impact upon the McCain campaign is largely limited to the Repub base, there no doubt is another demographic the GOP hopes to reach in Pennsylvania, which tends to go Democratic- narrowly- in presidential races. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has argued recently that "undecided" voters in the greater Pittsburgh area (and points in Pennsylvania south of there) may be balking at voting for Obama because of race. Although that is outside of the Philadelphia media market (and partial to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the rare moments they are not obsessed with the NFL's Steelers), a similar phenomenon may be occurring in a lesser scale in Philadelphia. Ben Smith of Politico writes (albeit anecdotally) on October 6:

An Obama supporter, who canvassed for the candidate in the working-class, white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, sends over an account that, in various forms, I've heard a lot in recent weeks.
"What's crazy is this," he writes. "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are f***ing undecided. They would call him a n----r and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy."

All polls of Pennsylvania show the Democratic nominee leading John McCain, most with the margin having grown in recent weeks. Still, this is a state which Obama lost decisively (by 9.4%) in the primary, and apparently one which bolsters the hypothesis that resistance among white voters to voting for Obama is greater in states in which "turf" is an issue and whose economy and state have been growing little, if at all, the last several years. Victory in Pennsylvania is not essential given Barack Obama's opportunity to capture states lost by John Kerry in 2004, but a loss there would be a major setback.

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