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New Poll Finds Race for Democratic Nomination in Pennsylvania is Tightening

January 30, 2020 by Dan McCue
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, is the top preference of Texas Democrats for president, according to a Texas Lyceum poll released Wednesday. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came in a close second, but fared better in a head-to-head match-up with President Donald Trump. [Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS]

Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to be the top choice for president among Pennsylvania voters, a new Franklin & Marshall College Poll finds, but the race for the Democratic nomination is tightening.

At the same time, the poll released Wednesday found that nearly three-out-of-five voters in the state don’t believe President Donald Trump deserves re-election — which is actually an improvement for him in the polls.

In January, the college’s pollsters found that 57% of Pennsylvanians don’t believe Trump deserves re-election, but that’s down from 59% in October and 61% in July.

As for the Democrats, the poll still has Biden out front, but his support has slipped to 22%, down from 30% in October.

Support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is also on the wane, down from 17% to 14%, putting her in third place.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, with support from 15% of the respondents, came in second, while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now in fourth place with the support of 7% of Pennsylvania Democrats.

Bloomberg hadn’t announced his candidacy in October and did not figure in that poll.

His showing puts him ahead of Pete Buttigieg (6%), Amy Klobuchar (5%) and Andrew Yang (5%).

Competition among the top three Democratic candidates is driven by ideology. Three in four Sanders (72%) and Warren (73%) supporters identify as liberal, compared to only one in two (40%) Biden supporters.

Democrats continue to say that healthcare (20%) is the top issue they are considering in selecting a presidential candidate and that honesty (42%) is the quality they most want in a candidate.

Pennsylvania voters told pollsters they are generally satisfied with the direction of the state and their personal finances.

Half (51%) of the state’s registered voters believe the state is “headed in the right direction.” Most voters report they are “better off” (33%) or the “same” (54%) financially compared to last year and most expect to be “better off” (31%) or the “same” (53%) next year—these economic sentiments are slightly more optimistic than those captured during the October poll.

Contrasting with their feelings about their home state, fewer (38%) registered voters believe that the United States is “headed in the right direction.”

About two in five (38%) registered voters in Pennsylvania believes President Trump is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as president, which is higher than the October Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Nearly two-thirds (67%) of the state’s registered voters say they are “very interested” in the 2020 elections; interest in the general election is already as high as it was immediately prior to the 2018 mid-term election.

This survey reflects interviews with 628 Pennsylvania registered voters, including 292 Democrats, 251 Republicans and 85 independents, conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College from January 20-26, 2020.

The sample error for this survey is +/- 6.2 percentage points (+/- 9.0 percent for registered Democrats).  A complete methodological statement can be found in the full report.

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