Biden leads Trump in Pa. and majority of voters will cast ballots in person, poll says
A mail-in ballot option for all voters is just one of the voting changes for Pennsylvania in the 2020 presidential election year. Wochit
Former Vice President Joe Biden is holding onto his lead against President Donald J. Trump in battleground Pennsylvania, according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll released Thursday.
In the poll, which was conducted last week during the Democratic National Convention, Biden outpaces Trump 49 percent to 42 percent.
The majority of voters say their choice is less about Biden and more about Trump, with 59 percent of Biden’s supporters saying they are voting against Trump, not for the Democratic presidential nominee.
Both presidential candidates hold onto their pace in the poll, but Biden wins independents. Some 43 percent of registered independents say they will vote for Biden, while 36 percent say they will vote for Trump.
Nearly all registered voters who were polled said they will vote in November. Of those, 62 percent said they plan to vote in person, while 31 percent will vote by mail.
Why Biden is leading in Pa.
Biden is leading because registered voters gave him higher marks on the coronavirus, character and honesty, but Trump continues to have an advantage on the economy.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 126,800 positive cases of Covid-19 and more than 7,600 deaths in Pennsylvania.
When asked who has the best plan to handle the coronavirus, 49 percent chose Biden, compared to 30 percent for Trump. Some 52 percent also said Biden had the character and good judgment to be president, compared to 33 percent for Trump. And 49 percent said Biden is the most honest and trustworthy, compared to 29 percent for Trump.
Biden also maintained a 10-point lead or more on questions about which candidate would better handle foreign policy issues, best understands the concerns of ordinary Americans and shares voters views on values, such as abortion and gay marriage.
The race tightens around who would be a better commander in chief, with 47 percent choosing Biden and 43 percent choosing Trump. Some 45 percent said Biden would change government policies in a way that makes their life better, while 41 percent chose Trump.
But Trump leads Biden, 48 percent to 44 percent, on who is most prepared to handle the economy.
Wolf gets high marks
Though most voters would choose Biden over Trump, both presidential candidates have lower favorability ratings than Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who has led during the pandemic against calls from Republicans to end restrictions and business closures.
Some 56 percent of Pennsylvania's registered voters have an unfavorable view of Trump, compared to 43 percent having a favorable opinion of the president. And 49 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Biden, while 48 percent have a favorable opinion.
One in 10 Pennsylvania voters has an unfavorable opinion of both candidates. "An unusually large share of voters," or about 16 percent, had an unfavorable opinion of both candidates in 2016. Eight years ago, in 2012, just 3 percent of voters had an unfavorable opinion of the presidential candidates.
What that means is people don't dislike Biden and Trump as much as they disliked Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. But 2012 candidates former President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney were more liked than the top two candidates in the last two presidential elections.
But the politician in Pennsylvania getting the highest marks isn't on the ballot. Wolf has a 54 percent favorability rating in the poll, compared to 38 percent of voters who have an unfavorable view of the governor.
Wolf's favorability now is higher than in August 2018 when he was running for reelection. That month, he had a 48 percent favorability rating, and he ultimately won the gubernatorial race by 17 points over Republican challenger Scott Wagner.
Most of Wolf's support this year appears to be for his handling of the coronavirus. Some 52 percent of voters say Pennsylvania has done better than other states in managing the pandemic, while 27 percent said Pennsylvania is the same as other states and 18 percent say Pennsylvania is worse.
Registered voters agree that the coronavirus is the biggest issue facing the state.
Pennsylvania votes in 68 days, when then general election is held on Tuesday, Nov. 3. At votespa.com, Pennsylvania voters can check their registration status, find their polling place, learn about mail-in voting and more.
Candy Woodall is a reporter for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at 717-480-1783 or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.