Thursday, August 27, 2015

Inside Pennsylvania's Vote

A look at vote totals by county in this year's presidential race shows some interesting stuff.

Inside Pennsylvania's Vote


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Boss, let me take you one more time to the well.

BE: Huh?

JB: A deep look inside Pennsylvania's vote for president.

BE: Old news. Last week. Move on.

JB: No, no. Trust me. This is interesting.


JB: For example, you know the narrative that this race was split between the haves and the have-nots?

BE: My eyelids feel heavy.

JB: Well, when you look at counties where the median household income (which is $50,398 in Pennnsylvania, according to U.S. Census data) is above the state average, guess what you find?

BE: Bunch of boring rich counties?

JB: You find that among counties with the highest household incomes Romney won 10 and Obama won 7. Romney took Chester (the highest at $84,741; and he took it very narrowly, by just one-half of one percent), Adams, Berks, Butler, Cumberland, Lancaster, Lebanon, Pike and York; Obama took Bucks, Dauphin, Delco, Lehigh, Montco, Monroe and Northampton.

BE: So the have/have-not thing doesn't really hold.

JB: And when you look at the poorest counties, guess what you find?

BE: A similar split?

JB: Not exactly. Obama took only one of the state's 10 poorest counties, Philadelphia. Romney won nine: Fayette (the poorest), Forest (the second poorest; Philly's third), Clearfield, Jefferson, Mifflin, Northumberland, Potter, Sullivan and Venango.

BE: Rural folk. Makes sense.

JB: And you know what the most interesting county result was?

BE: I imagine you're about to tell me.

JB: Centre County (just click on the map), home of Penn State, split 49-49 with Romney winning by 20 votes out of about 68,000 cast.

BE: We Are!...Conflicted!

JB: Overall, Obama carried just 12 counties and Romney carried 55; and Obama won the state by a margin of 5.2 percent, which is exactly half the 10.4 percent he won by in 2008.

BE: Can i go now?

JB: Yes. And have a fact-filled day.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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