In Pennsylvania, 61% of Voters Want New President

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CN) – In perhaps one of the key states to President Trump’s re-election strategy, the president is facing major backlash from voters, a new poll suggests.

Franklin & Marshall College on Thursday released its survey showing that more than half of registered voters in the Keystone State say they plan on voting against Trump in the 2020 election, regardless of his opponent.

About 61% of voters in the poll say it is time for a change in president, while 38% believe Trump deserves another four years.

Pennsylvania used to be considered a reliable piece of the “Blue Wall,” with Democrats winning the previous six presidential contests. That changed in 2016, however, with Trump edging out Hillary Clinton to win the battleground state and its highly coveted 20 electoral votes —the fifth highest in the country.

Trump’s victory in Pennsylvania came by less than a percentage point, with about 44,000 votes making the difference.

Though nearly all of the state’s counties shifted to Republican voter majorities from 2012 to 2016, according to Pennsylvania’s State Department voting records, the 2018 midterms was not friendly to them.

The Blue Wave brought Democrats four House seats plus re-election for Governor Tom Wolf.

Bizarrely, F&M’s polls suggest that Trump almost began his presidency with higher unfavorable ratings than favorable ratings among Pennsylvanians. Those strongly favoring the president have more than doubled, however, since February 2016 to about 26% last month.

The F&M poll also shows the president faring poorly among Pennsylvanians, with only 37% saying they believe Trump is doing a good job as commander in chief. Those are similar to the polling numbers President Obama had at the similar point in his presidency, though the economy at that time had just been roiled by the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

“It’s a surprise given the economy,” said Berwood Yost, director of the Center for Opinion Research at the college. “You would expect a sitting president to be in a much better position.”

Of those polled by F&M who say they will vote against Trump, 85% claim they would vote for anybody but Trump for president.

Former Vice President Joe Biden currently leads the field among voters in the Keystone State, with 28% of those surveyed saying they would vote for him if the election were held today. Senator Elizabeth Warren polls in second place at 21%.

The split is even more pronounced within the Democratic Party. Moderate Democrats more strongly favor Biden, who polls about 47% among that demographic, while more liberal Democrats lean toward Warren.

The biggest issue for Pennsylvanians is taxes, with 16% listing it as the most important problem facing the state.

Another hot-button issue — gun reform — has moved slightly in Pennsylvania, where President Obama infamously said voters “cling to guns or religion.”

According to F&M’s poll, 64% of voters favor creating new laws to regulate gun ownership. The number is less than the nearly 75% who favored more gun laws last March, but has steadily crept up since 2000, the poll suggests.

The F&M poll was taken between July 29 and Aug. 4 of 627 respondents over the phone or online. The margin of error for the poll is 6 percentage points.

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