"What's black and white and read all over?"

Thursday, April 06, 2006
Posted 10:04 PM by

Lies, more lies and statistics

Gov. Ed Rendell holds a 10 point lead over Republican Lynn Swann, according to a poll released this week.Two things caught my eye today. A poll found more blacks are likely to vote for Gov. Ed Rendell than Lynn Swann. The second is a bold prediction from state Sen. Vince Fumo that no incumbent legislators will be ousted due to anger over their pay raise.

First, the governor's race. Rendell continues to hold a 10 percentage point lead among registered voters, who favored him over the Pro Football Hall-of-Famer - 47 percent to 37 percent, according to results posted online by Quinnipiac University of Hamdem, CT.

Of the 1,354 voters polled, 451 were black - a statistically valid but far smaller sampling. Among them, 74 percent supported Rendell, 12 percent preferred Swann and 12 percent are undecided.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, unless Fast Eddie puts a giant foot in his mouth or does something really stupid, he's virtually a shoe-in to win reelection.

That's because this race will focus on three issues - race, football and the chasm between Philly and Pittsbugh.

Rendell, who is white, is Philadelphia's former two-term mayor, former chairman of the Democratic National Party and an Eagles TV commentator. He should win most of the black vote in Philly, and all but the most die-hard Republican white vote in the suburbs.

Those facts could change, however, if progressive liberal voters remember he signed the now-repealed legislative pay raise into law. See my earlier statement about doing something stupid.

Republican Lynn Swann's best chance at unseating Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell this fall is to split Philly's black population.Swann, a political novice, is black. He played for the World Champion Steelers, which means everything in Pittsburgh and almost nothing east of the Poconos.

So, the key to a Swann victory would be to split Philly's Democratic Party by swinging some black people to the polls on his behalf as the first black gubernatorial candidate from either party.

Blacks represent just 10 percent of Pennsylvania's 12.3 million population, but 43.2 percent of Philly's 1.5 million people compared to 27.1 percent of Pittsburgh's 325,000 people, according to Census figures.

The rest of the state is Alabama, as James Carville once put it. It will likely vote along predictable party lines. Again, see my earlier statement about Rendell doing something stupid.

Speaking of something stupid, the Vince of Darkness made quite the statement in front of the Pennsylvania Press Club last week by predicting, "I don't think we're going to lose anybody as a result of the pay raise.

"I think it's one thing to say you're mad at your current legislator or senator over the pay raise," Fumo said. "But when you get into the heat of the campaign and people are going to be reminded of everything else they've done for that district in the past ... I think in the end, [the incumbents] are going to be successful."

If it were politics as usual in Pa., I'd agree with him.

State Sen. Vince Fumo thinks no incumbent legislators will lose this year due to their now-repealed pay raise. I think he's severely misjudged voter anger over the issue.But I think Fumo is severely misjudging the simmering anger over the way the Legislature backdoored both the slots law and its own pay raise to get them passed.

The voters are in a throw-the-bums-out mood, Vince. No number of grip-and-grin check giveaways to local groups (Paid for with Walking Around Money) will buy lawmakers another term if they voted for the pay raise, illegally took their raises EARLY in unvouchered expenses and didn't pay it back.

That's assuming, of course, that the county parties put forth opponents who are even half-way competent. But even half-wits would seem like mensa candidates compared to the twits in Harrisburg we have now.

If we, the great unwashed electorate were willing to make history by throwing Supreme Court Justice Rusell Nigro to the curb last year, just wait until we get into the polls to vote for the legislators.
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