WASHINGTON – Less than two weeks before the election Nov. 3, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 7 percentage points in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll.
Nearly half (49%) of likely Pennsylvania voters say they support Biden, and 42% support Trump, according to the poll released Wednesday.
"I feel safe with Joe Biden, it's like having your dad watching over," says Lisa Laws, 61, who answered the poll and lives in Strafford. "I think he can get this country back on track because we've got to change."
Laws says she has seen divisiveness grow under the Trump administration and feels like the country has gone backward. Laws says she was the first Black person at her elementary school and went on to be the first Black person and first woman paralegal at her law firm.
"It's things like that that I see going backwards, not forward," she says. "This president is turning it on."
Trump won the Keystone State against Democrat Hillary Clinton by less than 1 percentage point in 2016. Pennsylvania has long been a swing state in presidential elections, choosing 20 of the past 25 presidents.
David Black, 61, of Chalfont, says he supports the president because "he has done everything he says, whether you like it or you don't like it."
"He's for America first, and I like that," says Black, who responded to the poll and voted for Trump in 2016.
Though the majority of likely voters (57%) say the country is on the wrong track, 51% say they are better off than they were four years ago. About one-third (32%) say the country is on the right track. Thirty percent say they are worse off than they were four years ago.
Who is seen more favorably?
Biden is seen more favorably than Trump by likely Pennsylvania voters.
Forty-nine percent have a favorable view of Biden, and 44% have an unfavorable view. More likely voters (52%) have an unfavorable view of Trump than those who have a favorable view (42%).
Autumn Sonnet, 35, of Pittsburgh, says that although Biden was not her first choice, "now it seems like it's imperative that he is elected."
"I think Donald Trump is a dangerous man," Sonnet says, citing COVID-19, systemic racism and the economy as some of her top concerns during the Trump presidency.
The USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll surveyed 500 likely voters via cellphone and landlines from Oct. 15 to 19. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Asked what their top issue in the election is, 26% of likely voters say bringing the country together, which leads all other issues. It's followed by jobs and the economy at 23% and COVID-19 at 22%.
The Supreme Court has also been a topic after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month. Days after Ginsburg’s death, Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Confirmation hearings were held for Barrett last week, and a vote is likely in the coming days.
A majority of likely Pennsylvania voters (58%) say Trump's nomination of Barrett makes no difference in whether they support the president. Twenty-three percent say it made them less likely to support Trump for reelection, and 18% say it made them more likely.
Barrett's confirmation could mean conservative dominance for decades in the Supreme Court, where Republican appointees would hold a 6-3 advantage. Since Barrett's nomination, some Democrats have called for expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
Adding justices to the Supreme Court?
According to the poll, 58% of likely Pennsylvania voters say they do not support adding justices to the Supreme Court, and 27% say they do.
For several weeks, Biden has not made his position clear on so-called court packing, though he said he is “not a fan” of it. Nearly half of voters (47%) say they view Biden's court comments favorably, and 36% view them unfavorably.
Black says he does not support adding justices to the Supreme Court.
“You start creating more justices to get the opinions you want,” he says, “it's almost like ‘Well, I gotta win, and I'm just gonna create new facts.’”
Laws supports adding justices, though she says it shouldn't be called court packing.
"I believe it should be called court evening," Laws says. The "minority shouldn't be ruling the majority," she says, and "the majority of the country is pro-choice."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Presidential poll: Biden leads Trump by 7 points in Pennsylvania