Biden maintains an edge over Trump in new Pa. poll, as pessimism over coronavirus and the economy looms

By Chris Brennan, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Political News

PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania voters are closely tuned into the 2020 election, pessimistic about the coronavirus, the economy, and their own personal finances - and currently giving Joe Biden the edge over President Donald Trump, according to a new poll.

The Franklin & Marshall College survey released Thursday showed the former vice president and Democratic nominee with a six-point lead over Trump among likely voters, 48% to 42%. Seven out of 10 voters are "very interested" in the race.

Voters continue to give Trump a slight edge over Biden on handling the economy, 48% to 46%. Biden is favored by a majority of voters on other issues like the coronavirus (50%), the military (53%), foreign policy (52%), and racial issues (54%).

Fifty-two percent find Biden "honest and trustworthy," while just 28% see Trump that way, according to the poll.

An average of Pennsylvania polling compiled by RealClearPolitics has shown the race narrowing in the state, with Biden ahead by 3.8 percentage points, within the margin of error for some surveys. That average was 5.5 points when Franklin & Marshall released its August poll.

"The race has tightened a bit," pollster G. Terry Madonna said. "There's no doubt about that."


The survey of 625 registered voters, including 480 likely voters, conducted Sept. 14 to 20, has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.5 percentage points.

The new poll comes as Trump visits Pennsylvania twice this week - in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and in Middletown, near Harrisburg, on Saturday. Biden delivered a televised speech Sunday from Philadelphia on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and filling her seat. He was due to campaign Wednesday by "virtual bus tour," seeking support from the state's Latino voters.

Trump and Biden are in a battle for a shrinking number of undecided voters in the state's suburbs and exurbs. Just 8% of voters said they are undecided about the race, while 97% of Biden's supporters say they have definitely chosen him, and 92% of Trump supporters plan to stick with him.

The poll also found far fewer voters interested in third-party presidential candidates than in September 2016. That year, the number of voters who ultimately cast their ballots for Green Party candidate Jill Stein was slightly higher than Trump's narrow margin of victory in the state. Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just 44,000 votes in 2016, or 0.7%.


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