Biden and Warren lead Pa. Democratic primary voters in new Franklin & Marshall poll

Joe Biden campaigns in Pittsburgh (Politico - screen capture)

If the Democratic presidential primary were held today, former Vice President Joe Biden would be Pennsylvania voters’ top pick, followed closely by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a new poll from Franklin & Marshall College shows.

Biden led with 28 percent support among registered Democrats, according to the poll released Thursday, while Warren garnered 21 percent in a hypothetical 2020 primary to pick who will face President Donald Trump that November.

Biden has led all four 2020 polls of Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary voters, according to data journalism website FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has come in a consistent second. In the new F&M poll, he finished third with 12 percent.

California Sen. Kamala Harris had 8 percent, followed by South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 6 percent.

Two percent of voters said they support New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, while former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard are all tied with 1 percent.

Six other candidates — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, author Marianne Williamson, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan — all polled at 0 percent.

Nineteen percent of respondents were still undecided.

Warren was the top No. 2 choice for Democratic voters, with 25 percent, followed by Harris with 16 percent. Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg rounded out those in double digits. Both Biden and Sanders had 15 percent each, while Buttigieg had 12.

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang followed with 3 percent, with the rest of the field at 1 percent.

The poll also asked all respondents their favorability ratings for five candidates — Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg.

All voters polled were the least undecided about their feelings toward Biden and Sanders. Forty-six percent of voters saw Biden favorably, compared to 44 percent unfavorably. Sanders was seen favorably by 38 percent of people polled and unfavorably by 53 percent.

Warren was even, with 41 percent of voters seeing her favorably as well as unfavorably. She had the highest strong favorables at 21 percent.

Registered voters had the least developed opinions of Harris and Buttigieg. Twenty-seven percent said they “do not know” Harris, while 39 percent said the same of Buttigieg.

Health care was by far the top priority for Pennsylvania Democratic voters. Twenty-one percent of voters picked it as their most important issue when considering candidates.

The next highest results showed a level of pragmatism: 8 percent of voters said their No. 1 priority is “the best option,” while another 8 percent picked “government, politicians.” Trump, specifically, followed at 7 percent.

Trump’s favorables among all Pennsylvania voters have stayed about the same since he took office. Twenty-six percent of voters said they had a strongly favorable opinion of the president, tying his previous F&M high from the summer and fall of 2018. Fifty-two percent of voters said they had a strongly unfavorable view of the president, a consistent number since summer 2018.

Just 19 percent of respondents had a qualified opinion about Trump — 13 percent said their view of him is somewhat favorable, while 6 percent responded somewhat unfavorable.

Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research polled 627 registered Pennsylvania voters between July 29 and Aug. 4, 2019. The poll has a sample error of +/- 6 percent.

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