Time to change the PA storyline

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The latest Franklin and Marshall Pennsylvania poll, which has Obama over McCain by eight points, 44-36 (likely voters by five, 46-41), gives the lie to the idea that Obama has a particular problem with Catholics in the Keystone State and its ilk. Specifically, Obama leads McCain among Catholics 44-37, whereas among Protestants (who include most of the state’s 11 percent non-white population), he trails McCain 37-45. Here it’s worth being aware that white Protestants in western Pennsylvania are for the most part mainliners but far more conservative than the norm. Protestants outnumber Catholics in the state; in the poll they show up at 38 percent and 31 percent of the population respectively. So the difference for Obama comes from those of other religions (13 percent of the population) and those with no religious affiliation (18 percent), among whom he leads 41-32 and 61-19 respectively.
The other key religious finding is that among those Pennsylvanians who identify as “born again or fundamentalist” (28 percent of the population), McCain leads Obama by only 48-31. This supports the Quinnipiac number on PA evangelicals, and strengthens my hypothesis that it’s evangelicals outside the South who are swinging to Obama. Yes, it’s our hobby horse around here, but most commentators on religion and politics are really not tuned into the regional dimension of religious voting patterns.