Hillary Clinton has a substantial lead in the polls over Donald Trump, and has vastly more cash on hand. But when it comes to spending that cash, her campaign may be making a strategic miscalculation. The campaign and an allied super PAC have reserved $137 million of ads across eight states — yet they’ve conspicuously left out the state that might be likeliest to tip the 2016 election: Pennsylvania.
Michigan and Wisconsin were absent from the list, as well, but the Keystone State is the most curious Rust Belt omission. In May, we laid out the case for why the Keystone State could be on pace to decide a close national race. Evidently, Democratic ad strategists don’t share that view. Last week, former Obama advisor David Plouffe tweeted that the buy “shows real discipline” because “PA is not a true battleground.” That’s a bit of bravado, considering it was tied for Obama’s fourth-closest win in 2012.
Many Democrats take Pennsylvania for granted because it hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988. But in 2012, its margin for President Obama was just 5.4 percentage points, equal to his margin in Colorado and less than his margins in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — all states included in early pro-Clinton ad reservations this year. Moreover, unlike those four states, Pennsylvania has trended toward Republicans over time, thanks to its older, whiter and more working-class electorate….