NBC News/Marist Poll Results & Analysis of Pennsylvania: September 2020

Biden Leads Trump by 9 Points in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, former Vice President Joe Biden (53%) is ahead of President Donald Trump (44%) by nine points among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. In 2016, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by less than one percentage point in the Keystone State.

PA Presidential Tossup
If November's election for president were held today, whom would you support if the candidates are: [If undecided: If you had to decide today, are you leaning more towards:]
Source: NBC News/Marist Poll. Survey conducted Aug 31 – Sep 7, 2020. Margin of error for 771 likely voters is +/- 4.4%.
  • Non-whites likely to vote, those with a college degree – especially white women with a college degree – voters under the age of 45, women – especially suburban women – white non-practicing Catholics, and residents in the cities and the suburbs boost Biden’s support.

  • Trump’s strength rests among white evangelical Christians, white voters without a college degree – especially white men without a college degree, white Catholics – especially white practicing Catholics – voters in small towns and rural areas, and to a lesser degree, men.

  • White voters who are likely to cast a ballot and those 65 and older divide.

  • 57% of independents support Biden.

  • Five percent of voters are persuadable, that is, voters who are undecided or who support a candidate but might vote differently.

80% of likely voters with a candidate preference for president strongly support their choice of candidate, including 85% of Trump’s supporters and 76% of those backing Biden.

“With Trump’s job approval rating and favorability upside down, he needs to reshuffle the deck to close the gap,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Trump’s best bet is on the economy to do just that.”

45% of Pennsylvania adults approve of the job President Trump is doing in office, and 50% disapprove. 31% of adults statewide strongly approve of Trump’s performance in office, and 42% strongly disapprove.

President Trump’s favorable rating is upside down. 44% of likely voters have a favorable impression of the president, and 54% have an unfavorable one. In October 2016, 32% thought positively of Trump, and 64% had a negative view of him. But unlike Clinton whose favorability was underwater four years ago, half of likely voters (50%) have a favorable view of Biden, and 46% view him unfavorably. More than six in ten women who live in the suburbs (61%) view Biden favorably, nearly twice the proportion who have this opinion of Trump (32%).

Likely voters consider Trump to be the candidate to better handle the economy while Biden is perceived to be the candidate that can better deal with race relations and coronavirus. They divide about which candidate would better handle crime.

Candidate Who Would Better Handle the Issues

Source: NBC News/Marist Poll. Survey conducted Aug 31 – Sep 7, 2020. Margin of error for 771 likely voters is +/- 4.4%.

Other Findings

Pence and Harris Favorability Ratings

Likely voters in Pennsylvania divide about their impressions of Vice President Mike Pence. 46% of likely voters have a positive perception of Pence, and 47% have a negative one. A plurality of likely voters (47%) have a favorable opinion of Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee. 43% have an unfavorable opinion of her.

Concerns Over Racial Protests

In light of the national protests over the actions against George Floyd in Minneapolis and Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a plurality of adults statewide say they are more concerned about the actions of the protestors looting and using violence (47%) than the actions of police against these men (41%). Opinions fall along partisan and racial lines.

Governor Tom Wolf’s Approval Rating

A majority of Pennsylvanians (53%) approve of the job Tom Wolf is doing as governor. 37% disapprove, and one in ten (10%) is unsure.