The Corner

An Extra Problem for Arlen Specter

Remember all of those Republicans in Pennsylvania who switched parties last year to vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in the Democratic primary? They haven’t necessarily switched back — and Sen. Arlen Specter (R) might need their votes in a primary against former Rep. Pat Toomey (R). A story in today’s Roll Call breaks it down by the numbers. GOP registrations in Specter’s home base, the Philadelphia area, have fallen:

In Montgomery County alone, Republicans lost a net 17,750 registrations from 2004 to 2008…Philadelphia County lost an even larger number of GOP voters — 22,203 — from 2004 to 2008…The other populous counties surrounding Philadelphia, including Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties, also saw GOP registrations drop by at least 11,000. Specter won all three of those counties by fewer than 8,000 votes in the GOP primary. Those three counties, plus Montgomery and Philadelphia, saw the largest drop in Republican registrations from 2004 to 2008 in the entire Keystone State.

And the Republicans who switched look like Specter voters, at least on one key issue.

…[A November] Muhlenberg College poll of 400 Pennsylvania voters…found that 67 percent of the party-switching respondents supported abortion rights, while only 19 percent were anti-abortion.

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