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banner Friday, 7 January, 2000, 17:49 GMT
Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a key battleground, with 23 electoral college votes.

Key facts
Population: 12,056,112 (ranked 5 among states)
Governor: Tom Ridge (R)
Electoral College votes: 23
It has voted very close to the national average in recent presidential elections and the result will be difficult to predict. It is no longer the case, as in the 1980s, that the prosperous east votes Republican while the struggling west goes Democrat. Also, Pennsylvanian Democrats are more culturally conservative than average while Republicans tend to be economically more liberal.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 11 Democrats, 10 Republicans
Senate: 2 Republicans
The Republicans are in the strongest position, with majorities in both houses of the state legislature since 1994. The Republican national convention is held in Philadelphia, which officially decides the party's presidential candidate from 29 July to 4 August.

But the contest should still be an open and highly competitive race.

Pennsylvania used to be centre of power. It was here that the Founding Fathers met to construct the constitution at a time when Philadelphia was the largest and most important city in the Union, the heart of culture and commerce.

Voting record
1996: Clinton 49%, Dole 40%
1992: Clinton 45%, Bush 36%, Perot 18%
1988: Bush 51%, Dukakis 48%
But its power diminished. Washington became the capital, New York the centre of finance and New England the intellectual centre of the new nation. But the state did retain its industrial clout. Until the 1930s, steel and coal production was the highest in the United States and Pittsburgh in particular was associated with intense heavy industry.

The Depression though was devastating for the state and many industrial sectors never recovered. Population growth in the 20th century was the slowest in the country.

There was economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in the south east area around Philadelphia. But now high-tech industries and shopping malls are the main focus.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


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