Editor’s Note: This post was written by Kerry Dunn, Paolo Fiore and Brian Button.
Democratic nominee, Katie McGinty, will win the Pennsylvania election for the U.S. Senate seat with 52% of the vote over the Republican incumbent Patrick Toomey, who will receive 48% of the vote. Election Day is rapidly approaching and, as one could have guessed, the outcomes are set to have major impacts on our nation. Much of the nation’s attention is focused on the presidential race, which has been filled with mudslinging, controversy, and a great amount of public reaction and media coverage. Whoever does end up being elected president will need the support of Congress to achieve their goals, which makes the Senate race equally important.
There are some states that we can safely say are going to elect a Democratic Senator and others that will elect a Republican Senator. However, there are a few states where the race is tight, and with Election Day right around the corner, it is still unclear who will prevail. Pennsylvania is one of these important toss-up states that could give one party a representative edge over the other in Congress. While the race is tight, and could go either way, we believe that McGinty will prevail by a slight margin based on recent poll numbers, Donald Trump’s impact, and patterns within Pennsylvania’s population.
If you take a look at the latest poll numbers, you will find an extremely close race. Statistical analysis from Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight predicts, as of October 30th, that Katie McGinty has a 63% chance of winning the Senate seat, while Toomey has a 37% chance. FiveThirtyEight collected poll numbers from 55 other institutions for this particular race and the results went both ways. For example, Siena College, Emerson College and Selzer and Company each have McGinty edging out Toomey. Other sources like Quinnipiac, Muhlenberg College and The Washington Post have Toomey retaining his seat. Based on the numbers, while it is close, it seems that McGinty will have just enough to edge out Toomey.
In addition to the numerical support provided by the polls, we believe that the current presidential race will work against Pat Toomey. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is having a negative effect on the Republican Party. You have every right to agree with Trump’s policies, his actions and his ability to call it like he sees it, but truth be told, many notable Republicans are withdrawing their support of the Republican candidate which is creating dissonance within the party. Many Republicans have released statements withdrawing support of Trump, such as Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and many others. While there has been a big withdrawal of the support of Trump, there are still many that will be casting their vote for him this November. Senator Toomey has found himself in the middle ground trying to get the vote of both the Republicans who support Trump and those who don’t. He has stated, “There is no question that Katie McGinty will never stand up to Hillary Clinton, but I will, and I’ll stand up to Donald Trump if I think he’s wrong.” By saying McGinty will not stand up to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Toomey is doing his best to resonate with almost all Republicans. When he says he will stand up to Trump if he needs to, he is not taking a firm position and is staying neutral between Republican Trump supporters and Republicans who do not support Trump. Toomey is trying hard to fight for the vote of his own party while it should be a given, and as a result, we predict that he does not get the Republican support he needs to overtake McGinty. Trump has certainly damaged Toomey’s ability to win.
We feel like McGinty will pull out the win based on the population of Pennsylvania. The five main industries in Pennsylvania, or in other words, the parts of the economy that are the strongest, are industrial machinery and equipment (12%), fabricated metal products (11%), food and kindred products (11%), chemicals and allied products (9%), and printing and publishing (7%). It is also worth noting that 82.6% of the population is white alone, 11.7% is black or African American alone, 3.4% Asian alone, 6.8% Hispanic or Latino, 1.9% two or more races, .1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander alone, and finally, .4% of the population is American Indian and Alaska Native alone. That being said, black voters tend to vote Democratic and the same goes for those living in urban areas. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are highly populated with these voters. Pennsylvania is also a big labor union state. Union members tend to vote Democratic because Democrats tend to uphold collective bargaining rights. While there is a large rural population, which tends to be Republican, and cannot be ignored, the dissonance in the party could deter voters and limit the support for Toomey. With Trump’s racist comments, inappropriate comments about women and other offensive actions, the oppressed and impoverished populations are definitely not going to vote for him. Trump has created a lot of enemies which is going to hurt Toomey in the end.
We believe that if there were no presidential election, this Senate race would still be a close one. Each candidate has different plans on where they want to take the state of Pennsylvania and how they want to push the nation. However, due to the 2016 presidential election, with all the controversy and conversation it has stirred up, we believe that is what ends up being the reason Toomey will be unable to retain his seat and McGinty will take over. The numbers are pointing in this direction and Trump’s influence is taking its toll on Toomey’s chances. The final percentages should be close, with McGinty 52% of the vote and Toomey with 48% of the vote.