Biden leads the Pa. primary pack in new Emerson College poll | Friday Morning Coffee

March 29, 2019 7:04 am

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

He isn’t even in the race yet, but former Veep Joe Biden has a comfortable lead in a putative Democratic primary pack, according to a new Emerson College poll.

In Emerson’s first Pennsylvania canvass of 2019, the poll of 359 voters shows Biden taking 39 percent of the vote in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders finishing second,  taking 20 percent support.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., finishes third with 11 percent, while South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounds out the pack, taking 6 percent support. The poll, conducted from March 26 to March 28, has a margin of error of plus of minus 5.1 percent.

Mayor Pete [Buttegieg] has performed well for our third poll in a row, indicating an increase in support for the South Bend Mayor, though Pennsylvania looks like it could be a Joe Biden firewall,” Emerson pollster Spencer Kimball said in a statement.

In head-to-heads with President Donald Trump, all the Democratic candidates fall within the margin of error, pollsters said. Biden (55-45 percent) and Sanders (55-45 percent) are the exceptions, pollsters found.

Trump carried Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes in 2016, breaking a three-decade-old streak of Democrats carrying the Keystone State in presidential years. Both Trump and Democrats badly want to hold or retake Pennsylvania in 2020.

Other key findings, according to Emerson:

  • “Among those who voted for Sanders in the 2016 primary, he leads with 36 percent support, followed by Biden with 25 percent, Warren with 10 percent and Buttigieg with 7 percent.
  • “Sanders, as he has done in previous Emerson polls, continues to perform the strongest among voters 18-29 years old, with 33 percent, followed by Biden with 18 percent, Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard – 13 percent and Warren – 12 percent.
  • “Biden leads among all other age groups with 40 percent support among 30-49 years olds; 38 percent among 50-64 years olds, and 55 percent among those 65 years or older.”

Sanders in this year’s state polling is consistently keeping between 35 percent to 60 percent of his vote from 2016, suggesting he has a strong base of supporters to work with,” Kimball said.

Our Stuff.
There’s a pair of new statute of limitation reform bills in the state House. And Attorney General Josh Shapiro is ‘optimistic’ that something might get done.
Stephen Caruso takes a look at all the workforce development bills making the rounds of the state House.
Elizabeth Hardison has everything you need to know about the witch-doctorism behind public opinion polling.
Capital-Star Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender swung by a Senate hearing on PFAS water contamination and found that senators of both parties were not real psyched with the Trump EPA.

On the Opinion side of the house, state Rep, Melissa Shusterman thinks it’s long past time that circuses folded up their tents. And a jockey-turned-activist says Penn National needs to get on board with this horse-racing reform measure.

Sound familiar? Tony Williams is calling out Philly Mayor Jim Kenney for running an ‘undercover’ campaignPhillyClout reports.
PennLive explains how high Pa. Turnpike polls are going to go – and why you need to worry about that.
Allegheny County’s police review board remains a work in progress, a Pittsburgh City Council member tells The Post-Gazette.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is getting ready for the legal fight over the city’s gun banThe Tribune-Review reports.

What Happens on Twitter:

As we’ve noted, the group above may be improperly using Pa. taxpayer money to expand its operations into other states.

Housing advocates are pushing for a return to rent-control in Philadelphia, BillyPenn reports.
Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a ‘moderately priced’ home in the Lehigh Valley, you can pretty much forget it, The Morning Call reports.
Student protesters halted a Philly school board meeting over a vote on metal detectors, WHYY-FM reports.
Sunoco has cut its ties with a western Pa. gas station owner over an offensive billboard, The Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).
At a rally in Michigan, President Trump accused Democrats of ‘poisoning’ the country with the Mueller probe, Roll Call reports.

Here’s a timely #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:

Gov. Tom Wolf kites off to Pittsburgh this Friday for a 12:30 p.m. at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where he’ll hype in-demand trade careers to the kids. At 2 p.m., he’s in Aliquippa to tout his RestorePa program.

Heavy Rotation.
There is absolutely no good reason that we like this Tom Walker song as much as we do.But it’s been stuck in our head sideways for a week. Now it’s your turn to suffer with us.

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
 cemented a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over Carolina on Thursday night. Ugh.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.