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Monmouth Poll Gives Joe Biden A 13 Point Lead In PA But Warns About “Secret Trump Voters”

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Here’s some good news today out of Pennsylvania courtesy of Monmouth University’s latest poll:

Joe Biden holds a 13 point lead over Donald Trump among all registered voters in Pennsylvania according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll.  Among likely voters, the Democrat has an edge of 7 to 10 points depending on the expected turnout level. Biden is also ahead in key swing counties, which include the region of his birthplace. Despite the challenger’s poll lead, voters are evenly divided on who they think will win the Keystone State’s electoral votes this year as a majority believe that their communities hold a number of “secret Trump voters.” Other poll findings include a close margin on the generic congressional ballot and better reviews for the commonwealth’s governor than for the president on handling the pandemic.

Among all registered voters in Pennsylvania, Biden is supported by 53% and Trump by 40%, with 3% saying they will vote for another candidate and 4% who are undecided. Biden is in a relatively stronger position among his fellow Democrats (93% to 1%) than Trump is among Republican voters (84% to 12%). Biden also enjoys a wide margin among independent voters (54% to 33%).

Biden has the advantage among voters under 50 years old (60% to 29%) as well as voters age 65 and older (52% to 42%). Trump has an edge among voters between 50 and 64 years old (56% to 43%). White voters without a college degree also prefer the incumbent (55% to 39%) while the challenger leads among white college graduates (61% to 34%) and voters who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or from other racial groups (76% to 16%).

Biden is doing especially well in ten counties where the vote margins were closest in the 2016 presidential election. The Democrat currently holds a 54% to 35% lead among registered voters in these swing counties*, which are concentrated in a swath that runs from the Philadelphia suburbs into the northeast region where the candidate grew up. The poll also finds that Biden racks up a huge margin in four large counties that went solidly for Hillary Clinton in 2016 (68% to 26%), while Trump leads in the remaining counties that he won handily four years ago (55% to 40%).

“Even taking into account any polling error from four years ago, Biden is clearly doing well in swing areas. The Democrat has roots in this region which may be helping him, but there seems to be an overall erosion of support for Trump compared to 2016,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Biden’s lead narrows when different likely voter models are applied. A model based on a somewhat higher level of turnout than 2016 gives him a 10 point edge (52% to 42%) while one reflecting lower turnout puts his lead at 7 points (51% to 44%). Looking just at the swing counties, the higher turnout model has Biden ahead there by 17 points (53% to 36%) and the lower turnout model gives him a 13 point lead (51% to 38%). Four years ago, Clinton won the cumulative vote in these counties by just over one percentage point.

In four core Clinton counties, Biden holds a lead between 39 points (67% to 28% low turnout) and 42 points (68% to 26% high turnout). In 53 core Trump counties, the incumbent holds a lead between 20 points (58% to 38% high turnout) and 23 points (60% to 37% low turnout). Trump and Clinton won the cumulative vote in their respective core counties by 33 and 36 points in 2016.

Comparing the current results to a Monmouth University Poll taken in August 2016, Biden’s likely voter position is similar to Clinton’s summer standing in the swing counties, where she led Trump by 50% to 40%. Interestingly, Trump is doing slightly better now in core Clinton counties than four years ago, when he was polling at 21% to 67% for Clinton. Biden, however, is currently stronger than Clinton was in the president’s base counties, where she was polling at 27% to 60% for Trump.

“The good news for Biden is that he hits the magic 50% mark in all the turnout models and far fewer voters are considering a third party candidate than four years ago. This suggests somewhat more stability in the numbers, but there are also signs that Biden has not pulled clearly ahead of Trump on some key metrics,” said Murray.

Among all registered voters, 45% say they are certain to vote for Biden and 36% say the same for Trump. At the other end of the spectrum, 40% say they are not at all likely to vote for the challenger and 49% say the same for incumbent. Using the poll’s lower turnout likely voter model, though, these gaps narrow for both firm support (44% Biden and 41% Trump) and those who are not at all likely to support the candidate (44% Biden and 47% Trump).

Most registered voters (54%) say they were surprised in 2016 when Trump ended up winning Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. They are evenly divided on whether they expect Trump (46%) or Biden (45%) to win the commonwealth this time around. One reason for this seems to be that most voters (57%) believe there are a number of so-called secret voters in their communities who support Trump but won’t tell anyone about it. Less than half that number (27%) believe there are secret voters for Biden. The suspicion that a secret Trump vote exists is slightly higher in swing counties (62%) and Clinton counties (61%) than in Trump counties (51%). The belief in a secret Biden vote is somewhat more prevalent in Trump counties (32%) than Clinton counties (23%) and swing counties (23%).

“The media consistently reports that Biden is in the lead, but voters remember what happened in 2016. The specter of a secret Trump vote looms large in 2020,” said Murray.

Trump’s approval in Pennsylvania is 42/56 and Governor Tom Wolf’s (D, P) approval is 67/29. In the generic House vote, voters prefer the Democrats over Republicans 49/45.

I’ve heard people talk about the “secret Trump vote” because the polling underestimated Trump’s support in the polls in 2016. But the fact that more people believe there is are secret Trump voters in Clinton and sing districts is helping drive motivation. It’s clear that our side cannot get complacent about this. Especially in swing states like Pennsylvania. Luckily, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party is making sure that your vote is protected. Received this e-mail today from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party:

The fight for free and fair elections amid a global pandemic is escalating quickly here in PA.

FIRST, Governor Wolf and a bipartisan coalition of legislators passed mail-in voting in PA, and our Vote By Mail campaign helped over one million Democrats vote from home in the PA Primary.

THEN, Donald Trump and PA Republicans got scared. They sued to throw out votes and make mail-in voting harder this fall.

NOW, we're taking the fight right back to them, with a countersuit of our own and the biggest voter protection team PA has ever seen.

Please chip in to fund our Voter Protection program, our Vote By Mail campaign, and our lawsuit to protect and expand at-home voting rights. We can't let Trump stop PA from voting!

Voter suppression is a cornerstone of Donald Trump's reelection strategy because Republicans know the easier it is for people to vote, the harder it is for them to hold power.

They'll do everything they can to disenfranchise PA voters, especially those in Black and Brown communities. And their efforts will be very well funded by billionaires, big business, and special interests.

We can't fight back without investments from donors like you. Our legal fees, voter advocacy programs, and digital outreach is largely funded by donations of $10 or $20 or $50 at a time.

Help protect everyone's right to vote this fall! Make a donation to PA Democrats' Voter Protection programs today.

Click here to donate to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Let’s not take anything for granted. Click below to donate and get involved with Biden and his fellow Pennsylvania Democrats campaigns:

Joe Biden

Josh Shapiro

Christina Finello

Eugene DePasquale

Joe Torsella

Matt Cartwright

Susan Wild

Conor Lamb

Chrissy Houlahan

Madeleine Dean

Mary Gay Scanlon

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