President Donald Trump’s ongoing bout with the coronavirus made no difference to Pennsylvania voters as yet another poll gave Joe Biden a substantial lead in this key battleground state.
Biden led Trump, 54% to 43%, among likely voters with a high level of turnout, and 53% to 45% assuming low turnout, according to a Monmouth University Poll released Tuesday.
That was in line with Biden’s 49%-42% advantage among likely voters a post-debate New York Times/Siena College poll, and his 54%-45% lead over Trump in a pre-debate ABC News/Washington Post survey.
“We’ve grown accustomed to big news not having any effect on the needle,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “This is not good news for Trump, who really needs to see that needle move. If anything, the president’s health crisis may be reminding voters about their own vulnerability.”
More ominous for Trump was Biden’s 53% to 42% advantage in the 10 counties, including Northampton and Lehigh, that were the closest in 2016. Those counties, which accounted for 26% of the vote four years ago, slightly preferred Clinton over Trump, 48.6% to 47.4%.
Pennsylvania, along with Michigan and Wisconsin, was part of the so-called “blue wall,” states that hadn’t support a Republican presidential candidate for decades before Trump narrowly carried them en route to defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Biden, a native of Scranton, leads Trump in all three states, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average.
The challenger had a 20-point lead among Pennsylvania registered voters in which candidate would better handle the pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans. Biden led, 52% to 32%.
With Trump asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act and its protections for pre-existing conditions, voters gave Biden a 48%-34% advantage on which candidate would better keep health care affordable and accessible.
Voters listed law and order as their top concern, but trusted Biden over Trump to handle the issue by 45% to 41%.
And while Trump led on the economy, 44% to 39%, that was down on the list of voters’ worries.
“If any recent event moved the needle, it was more likely last week’s debate than the president’s COVID diagnosis,” Murray said. “What seems to be more important than either event, though, is voters’ focus on which candidate they trust more on the issues that keep them up at night.”
The poll of 500 registered voters was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 4 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
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Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at [email protected].