Trump trails Biden, leads Warren in new polls of Pa., key 2020 battleground states

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden rallies with supporters in Philadelphia on Saturday, 5/18/19. (Capital-Star photo by Nick Field)

Exactly a year out from Election Day, President Donald Trump is giving the Democratic contenders a run for their money in the six battleground states that helped put him in the White House in 2016, according to new New York Times/Siena polls released Monday.

The poll of registered voters in Pennsylvania shows Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 3 percent and 1 percent respectively, and even with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The results, however, are all within the poll’s margin of error.

Across the six battleground states which include — in addition to Pennsylvania — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, Trump trails Biden by an average of 2 percent among registered voters, and leads Warren by the same margin, the Times reported on Monday.

Among likely Pennsylvania voters, Trump trails Biden by 1 percent, while leading Sanders by 1 percent and Warren by 2 percentage points, the new poll shows.

Altogether, the results suggest that, as was the case in 2016, the race is much tighter in key states than nationally, where Trump’s approval ratings are at average of 43 percent, according to the RealClear Politics polling average.

“The Times/Siena results and other data suggest that the president’s advantage in the Electoral College relative to the nation as a whole remains intact or has even grown since 2016, raising the possibility that the Republicans could — for the third time in the past six elections — win the presidency while losing the popular vote,” the Times reported.

Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by less than a percentage point in 2016, taking all 20 of the state’s electoral votes and putting him on course to the White House.

While he has stumbled nationally, Biden was the top pick among Pennsylvania Democrats to face Trump in 2020, according to poll last week by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Biden took 30 percent support in the poll of 482 registered voters.

Warren and Sanders trailed at 18 percent and 12 percent respectively in the Franklin & Marshall canvass, which had a margin of error of 6.1 percent.

“While Mr. Biden ranks as the strongest Democrat in the swing states polled, the findings are not necessarily great news for him, either. His appeal to Democrats hinges on the view that he’s a safe bet against the president, yet his lead against Mr. Trump is not nearly so comfortable that he could be considered a sure thing,” the Times reported Monday.

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.