The presidential race in Pennsylvania may be heating up again after a series of polls show a tighter race in the Keystone State than what’s been seen throughout the summer.
RealClearPolitics, a website that tracks the ups and downs of political races, has reclassified Pennsylvania from “Leans Obama” to a tossup state, meaning the commonwealth’s 20 electoral votes are back in play.
While several individual polls over the summer showed Obama leading Gov. Mitt Romney by as much as 12 points in Pennsylvania, the RCP average of recent polling gives the president a 4.5 percent lead.
The polls include ones conducted by Siena College, Rasmussen Reports, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Susquehanna Polling and Research.
“Now that the polls have tightened up, I imagine we’ll see some more money spent here in Pennsylvania,” said Dickinson College political analyst Brandon Lenoir.
In recent months, the campaigns and the Super PACs supporting them have ceased TV advertising in Pennsylvania, focusing on key battlegrounds such as Ohio, Florida and Virginia.
It’s a much different dynamic than in recent presidential election cycles when the Keystone State was hotly contested.
While surrogates for the candidates, such as their running mates, have made stops in Pennsylvania, the candidates themselves have been largely absent.
Romney made an appearance in Philadelphia late last month. Before that neither candidate had held a public rally in Pennsylvania since late spring.
“The fact that there was such a wide gap in the polls leading up to the first debate, that was a little bit of a surprise. The fact that they’re tightening up, Pennsylvania’s starting to behave the way it normally does,” said Lenoir.
He pointed to voters who don’t tend to follow politics closely now starting to get more engaged.
“The president just had a bad night. I have no excuses for why,” said Levin. She added volunteers are continuing to canvas the area, knocking on doors in an effort to boost turnout.
Michael Barley, executive director of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, said enthusiasm among volunteers has grown compared to past presidential races.
While the candidates may not be fiercely battling for Pennsylvania, he said that doesn’t mean people on the ground have stopped working to tilt the election their way.
“A lot of stuff that we’re doing, it feels very active for us because we’re doing a lot of stuff underneath the surface,” he said.