Is Pennsylvania Really a Swing State in 2012?

With Labor Day behind us and the conventions nearly over, the fall political season begins in earnest.

But, how much of a role will Pennsylvania play in determining the next president?

According to some experts, absent a major gaffe or national crisis, Pennsylvania is not likely going to be the scene of an intense political fight this fall at the presidential level.

“There is the possibility that the polls are understating the turnout. It’s always very difficult to gauge turnout. But, with a gap of eight or nine points, even an error in the polls favoring Republicans would mean Barack Obama would still win,” said Matthew Woessner, political science professor at Penn State Harrisburg.

The two most recent polls conducted in Pennsylvania, one for the Philadelphia Inquirer and one for the Allentown Morning Call, each give Obama a nine-point lead over Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. Neither candidate has held a public campaign event in the commonwealth since early summer.

Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in York County, while Rep. Paul Ryan made a stop in Chester County in April.

In recent weeks, political ads that had been common on television have largely disappeared.

“While things may eventually turn around, there’s no indication at this point that they’re going to put a lot of resources into Pennsylvania since both sides think it’s a foregone conclusion,” said Woessner.

The website Real Clear Politics, and several others, have moved Pennsylvania from "tossup" to "leans Obama."

Pennsylvania was the scene of intense political fights in recent cycles. The last time the state went Republican was in 1988.

In 2004, Sen. John Kerry (D) narrowly carried the state by 2 points. But in 2008, Obama beat Sen. John McCain (R) by 10 points.

Local Republicans and Democrats say they are not working any less aggressively this year.

“I think the choice is going to be pretty clear. Pennsylvania historically is a pretty tight state, so I expect this year will be no exception,” said Rep. Glen Grell (R) at a campaign event in Camp Hill Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders say they're continuing to make calls to voters to ensure they have proper photo identification to cast their ballots in November.

“We are making phone calls, we are canvassing, we have a great local team running. And, we are going to let everyone know what our platform is,” said Marilyn Levin, chairman of the Dauphin County Democratic Party.