Pennsylvania voters would pick Joe Biden over Trump, all other Democrats, new Quinnipiac University poll finds

Joe Biden campaigns in Pittsburgh (Politico - screen capture)

With his rally in Philadelphia just two days away, former Vice President Joe Biden leads the Democratic primary pack in a state that could hold the keys to the White House in 2020.

Biden also leads President Donald Trump 53-42 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Among registered votes in Pennsylvania, the poll also found:

  • U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont leading Trump 50-43 percent;
  • U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts at 47 percent to Trump’s 44 percent;
  • Trump and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, of California, tied at 45-45 percent;
  • South Bend, Ind.,  Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 45 percent to Trump’s 44 percent;
  • Trump at 46 percent to 44 percent over former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas.

“More than half of Pennsylvania voters say they are better off financially than they were in 2016. But the economy isn’t giving President Donald Trump an edge in an early read of the very key Keystone State,” Quinnipiac polling analyst Mary Snow said in a statement.

The poll also found Biden leading the Democratic primary pack, with 39 percent of registered Democrats picking him in a hypothetical matchup. Biden was followed by Sanders at 13 percent, Harris and Warren with 8 percent each, Buttigieg at 6 percent, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., with 5 percent. None of the other members of the rapidly expanding Democratic pack topped 2 percent.

The poll also found 61 percent of registered Democrats in Pennsylvania think Biden has the best chance of beating Trump, followed by Sanders with 6 percent.

The Quinnipiac poll found wide disparities based on the gender and race of state voters. Women said they would back Biden over Trump 60-36 percent, while men favored the president 49-45 percent. White voters split 49-45 percent, while non-white voters went Democratic 70-27 percent, the poll found.

Unsurprisingly, Trump leads 90-7 percent among registered Pennsylvania Republicans in a hypothetical matchup with Biden. The former vice president leads 93-6 percent among Democrats. Crucially, Biden also leads 51-37 percent among independent voters. The poll further found that it was more important for a candidate to be a great leader (53 percent) than to have great policy ideas (38 percent)

Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes in 2016, edging Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by barely a percentage point, breaking a three-decade-old winning streak of Democrats carrying the state in presidential years.

Trump often brags about his Pennsylvania win at campaign rallies. And his re-election campaign has already put staff on the ground to make sure the Keystone State stays in the White House’s column next year. The president will campaign in Lycoming County on Monday on behalf of Republican 12th Congressional District candidate Fred Keller.

Democrats, including Warren and Biden, have already barnstormed the state.

Quinnipiac polled 978 state voters between May 9 and May 14, with an overall margin of error of 4.2 percent. A subsample of 431 Democrats had a margin of error of 6.2 percent

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

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