Is Pennsylvania a Swing State Again?

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Romney in Pennsylvania this summer. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) Photo: Win McNamee/2012 Getty Images

While Florida and Virginia have been slipping from the Democrats' grasp ever since the first debate, Obama supporters have been able to console themselves with Pennsylvania, whose 20 Electoral College votes seemed destined for the president's side. However, a recent Quinnipiac University poll says that Obama's lead in the Keystone State has shrunk to four points. Adding insult to injury is the come-from-behind campaign of GOP Senate candidate and coal millionaire Tom Smith: As Politico reports, Smith has erased incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey's double-digit lead and outspent him on the airwaves by about $5 million. (Smith spent $17 million of his own money.) Though Casey concedes it's a rather "unusual situation," he also points out that Pennsylvania is "much more of a 52-48 kind of state."

The Romney campaign has taken notice — though it hasn't yet invested money in Pennsylvania, they did send Paul Ryan there yesterday. That's not to say there's no good news for Democrats: The party's registered voters outnumber their Republican counterparts by one million in Pennsylvania, and the state is also home to a strong union presence (and a fierce Obama ground operation.) 

Meanwhile, the latest latest PPP poll of neighboring Ohio — thought to be leaning Obama — also shows some Romney gains. While Obama led by five points in the Buckeye State a week ago, he's now down to just one point (and that's after the second presidential debate.) On the other hand, 21 percent of the state has already voted, and 66 percent of voters say they cast their ballot for Obama.