As a lifelong student of history, I must disagree with Post-Gazette writer Timothy McNulty's implication that the state has a "history of voting for Democratic presidential candidates" (from the front page Nov. 1 article "Political Ads Fill Airwaves Across State").
Since I don't know Mr. McNulty's age, perhaps he is referring only to presidential elections during his lifetime. The fact is that if you include all of Pennsylvania history, the state has voted for the Republican presidential candidate 25 times and for the Democratic candidate 19 times, including this week's election. Also, six of those Democratic wins in Pennsylvania were before the Republican Party ever even ran a presidential candidate (Lincoln was the first in 1860).
So in head-to-head contests the GOP candidate has won Pennsylvania 25 times compared to 13 times for the Democratic candidate. Even since the 1900 election, the GOP has won the state of Pennsylvania 15 times compared to 13 times for the Democrat.
Perhaps it would have been more accurate for Mr. McNulty to say that in recent history Pennsylvania has voted for the Democratic candidate. Now, the last six presidential elections in Pennsylvania have been won by the Democrat.