This year, Pennsylvania will prove to be one of the most important states in deciding who the next president will be. In looking at the two candidates event calendars, it is clear that they both know the need to fight for Pennsylvania. As early as the primaries last spring, both candidates had made stops in and around the Chester County area. Barack Obama was in West Chester in early April, and John McCain was at Villanova in the middle of the month. Earlier this month, McCain was in Downingtown, and Obama will be making a stop in Pittsburgh this coming week.

In his rally in Downingtown, McCain commented that Pennsylvania will be key to winning the Election

In the past four presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has won Pennsylvania. Before that, Pennsylvania voted in favor of three Republican candidates. However, the races were close, keeping Pennsylvania as a swing state. In 2004, the actual votes between candidates were 51 percent to 49 percent in favor of John Kerry.

Swing states historically have been New Hampshire, Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsion, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri. However more recently, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia have also been swing states. In an article on your4state.com, writer Scott Hersberger, a Shippensburg University graduate, refers to Pennsylvania as a “purple” state.

“Many Democrats can be found in the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” Hershberger said, “but there are plenty of Republicans between them.”

Pennsylvania has 21 electoral votes, out of the 270 needed to win. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, in Philadelphia Democrats outnumber Republicans 6-1. However, take a walk down any street in Philadelphia, or West Chester and you’ll see an equal display of Obama and McCain signs in yards and windows.

A big issue could be how many of these supporters actually turn out to vote though. It’s easy to tell someone conducting a poll that you’re going to vote for the candidate you support, but it’s a bigger step to actually go out and do it.

Election day is Tuesday November 4, and your vote in Pennsylvania could be one of the most important in the entire country.

Jenn Rothstein is a second-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at JR649299@wcupa.edu

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