The Trump campaign is becoming more and more confident about its chances in Pennsylvania — a crucial battleground state that hasn’t gone red since George H.W. Bush won it in 1988.
The public polls don’t look good — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads in a head-to-head by 3.8 points on average, according to Real Clear Politics’ data. And in a four-way matchup taking into account third-party candidates, she leads by an average of 3.4 points.
But Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign staffers are seeing something in their internal polling that gives them hope for a win in the Keystone State — which with its 20 Electoral College votes is tied for the fifth-most valuable state by electors.
“It’s a place where Donald Trump, especially of late in our internal polls — and the external polls are catching up to that now — is doing much better than Mitt Romney and John McCain did here,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told TheBlaze Thursday at a rare public appearance by Trump’s wife, Melania Trump.
“Hillary Clinton is way beneath the margins that President [Barack] Obama realized in Pennsylvania both in 2008 and 2012,” Conway added. “So we feel good about it.”
If Trump were able to pull off an upset victory in Pennsylvania, it would alleviate some of the make-or-break pressure to rack up electoral votes from other swing states such as North Carolina or Florida.
And Clinton’s campaign doesn’t seem to think that the state, which has gone Democratic for the past six election cycles — or every one since Bush’s 1988 election — is in the bag.
Clinton’s campaign will hold two big events in Philadelphia this weekend — a Stevie Wonder concert on Friday and a Katy Perry performance that Clinton is scheduled to appear at on Saturday. Clinton will also hold her final, Election Eve rally in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia on Monday — appearing with Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. And Vice President Joe Biden, a Pennsylvania native, will campaign for Clinton in the state’s capital of Harrisburg and his hometown of Scranton on Sunday.
Those are some seriously big guns — not exactly the movements of a campaign that’s confident in a victory in Pennsylvania when there are plenty of other swing states she could be focusing on.