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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Pittsburgh Effect

Posted by Seamus

David already posted about the impact of the Edwards selection as VP on his home state of North Carolina. But my mind has been wrapped around another aspect of John Kerry's Vice Presidential announcement - its location.

Although I do not live in Pittsburgh, I am getting a strong vibe about the level of effort being put into this area by John Kerry. Due to Theresa Heinz-Kerry's close relationship to the Pittsburgh area, there is a great opportunity here to influence the election in 2004. Presidential wives aren't known to carry states as far as I know, but owning personal property where you can hold Independence Day barbecues does a lot for a candidate's profile. And announcing the VP selection in Pittsburgh before a tour that will end in North Carolina is pure brilliance in the way in which it creates an extended media opportunity. The only thing missing was John Edwards standing alongside Kerry with hands held high in the air. While I missed seeing that, the opportunity will come at the convention, so it isn't a big loss.

Over the last few days, Dick Cheney was also in town. The local news channels were covering both visits but the contrasts couldn't be more obvious. Cheney was coming to speak to a closed door Republican Group in Oakland. Announcement only. But the local news was broadcasting for days that for anyone who wanted to see John Kerry, doors would open at 7am. So there was an announcement plus an update on what to do if you wanted to see Kerry.

And then, this morning, watching the VP announcement on WTAE-ABC, I couldn't help but notice their pleasant coverage. "[Steelers great] Franco Harris welcomed the crowd by telling them that he was not the Vice Presidential nominee." They repeated this line several times and added this additional off-hand comment as well, "Wow, he is really going all out for Kerry this year, isn't he." And remember, this coverage is not only piping out across Western Pennsylvania but also eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia.

I don't think the effect is anecdotal. Pittsburgh has an impressive Meetup enrollment of 1,337 rating it highly in comparison to cities of similar size. Kerry has done fairly well in the polls here too. I hope that the Kerry campaign continues to make intelligent use of its personal ties to swing regions like Pittsburgh and North Carolina.

Posted at 03:21 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati


Oh man, Franco, that sweetens the deal for me (being a big Steelers fan).

Posted by: steve at July 6, 2004 03:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I should add that in looking at the Meetup numbers over the last few days Kerry has seen quite an overall surge. About 6,000 new signees if I remember correctly. Still lags behind Dean but its clear that the VP buzz gave him some fuel.

Posted by: seamus at July 6, 2004 03:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment