How Bout That Rendell Effect?

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Can Obama get it under 10 points tonight?  

I don't think he can. Yes, we're basically just waiting for suburban Philadelphia votes at this point. But, contrary to the conventional wisdom going into tonight, Obama is actually losing a lot of those relatively affluent suburban counties. He's losing Bucks County--semi-suburban, semi-exurban--64-36 with 50 percent of the vote counted. And he's basically even with HIllary in affluent, educated, straight-up suburban Montgomery County with about 40 percent of the vote counted. The votes are in in suburban/exurban Berks County--a place Rendell won handily in that 2002 primary--and Hillary has won overwhelmingly there, 58-42.

Something happened in these area, and I'm not sure what it was. Obama should have done better on the basis of raw demographics. It could be lots of affluent, educated women crossing over to vote for Hillary, it could be those last-minute abortion calls/mailings I heard rumors of yesterday. But something happened that allowed Hillary to chip into Obama's coalition.

Update: Just occurred to me that the most obvious explanaton here is Ed Rendell, who's enormously popular in suburban Philly--among other things, he racked up 60-40 splits in most of these places in that 2002 primary against Casey. I'd chalk this up to the Rendell effect.

--Noam Scheiber

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