Biden leads Trump by 9 points in must-win Pennsylvania, 2 major polls find

Peter Weber
·2 min read

Pennsylvania may turn out to be the keystone in the Electoral College victory of either President Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden, and two polls released Monday show Biden with a large but not insurmountable lead of 9 percentage points. Biden is ahead of Trump 54 percent to 45 percent among likely voters in a new Washington Post/ABC News survey and 49 percent to 40 percent among likely voters in a New York Times/Siena College poll. Both results are near the edge of the margin of error.

In both polls, Biden's strong support among women and in the Philadelphia suburbs, plus his competitiveness in Pennsylvania's western and northeastern counties, outweigh Trump's bedrock backing in central Pennsylvania. In the Post/ABC poll, Biden has a 23-point lead among women and a 7-point deficit among men; in the Times/Siena poll, he is up 26 points among women and 8 points behind among men. Both results are better for Biden than the exit polls for Hillary Clinton, who narrowly lost Pennsylvania to Trump in 2016.

Trump leads narrowly on the economy but trails Biden on every other issue, and 47 percent (Times/Siena) and 49 percent (Post/ABC) of Pennsylvania voters "strongly" disapprove of his job performance overall. In the Post/ABC poll, 8 percent of Trump 2016 voters now back Biden, versus 1 percent of Clinton voters who now back Trump. Trump's rush to push through a new Supreme Court appointment was frowned on by a slight majority of likely voters in each poll, and may have backfired with moderates.

The Post/ABC poll was conducted via phone Sept. 21-26 among a random sample of 702 registered voters and 567 likely Pennsylvania voters, and its margin of sampling error is ± 5 percentage points for likely voters. The Times/Siena poll interviewed 711 likely Pennsylvania voters Sept. 25-27, and its margin of sampling errors ± 4.3 points. RealClearPolitics shows Biden beating Trump by an average of 5.7 points in Pennsylvania; FiveThirtyEight has Biden with a lead of 5.5 points and a 79 in 100 chance of winning the state.

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