And more of a true swing state than FL or NC. But, Atlas seems to forget that because of some mythological 'blue wall'.
If Pennsylvania was a "true swing state," George W. Bush would have carried it while he won a Republican pickup, by 2.46 percentage points, of the U.S. Popular Vote (with his "re-election") in 2004.
Good to know New Mexico is a swing state and Virginia and North Carolina are still safe red states. Seriously, do you honestly think the political landscape has not changed in 12 years?
Pennsylvania trended Republican in both elections since 2004, despite both nominees writing the state off as a blue state until a few weeks before the election. Polls show reason to believe an early Republican investment in the state would reap rewards.
That's not the point.
The point is that, for a Republican to win the presidency and carry Pennsylvania in the process, that prevailing Republican isn't going to carry the state above his national percentage margin of support.
And, given the last sixty years (which include realigning and counter-realigning the map), there is no reason to think otherwise. After all, the last time a Republican outperformed his national numbers in Pennsylvania was also the last time a Democrat was elected without carriage of Pennsylvania: 1948. That was losing Republican Thomas Dewey, defeated by incumbent Democrat Harry Truman, with Pennsylvania in his column. And, back then, the Old Confederacy states were with the Democrats—as evidence by the fact that all 16 states which carried for Dewey were outside the Old Confederacy: In addition to Dewey's home state New York, as well as Pennsylvania, he carried Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Vermont.
I know people are dedicated to sensing trends…but it is pure folly to think that long-established patterns of states' political-party preferences are going to go away in a matter of no more than two elections. (For example:
Pennsylvania is not going to vote with margins like Texas, which has had a Republican tilt for an even shorter duration than Pennsylvania has had a Democratic tilt.)