WASHINGTON — With less than two weeks until the Nov. 3 election, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump by 7 percentage points in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll.
Nearly half (49%) of likely Pennsylvania voters said they support Biden, while 42% said they support Trump, the poll released Wednesday found.
“I feel safe with Joe Biden, it’s like having your dad watching over,” said Lisa Laws, 61, who answered the poll and lives in Strafford. “I think he can get this country back on track because we’ve got to change.”
Laws, who is Black, said she has seen divisiveness grow under the Trump administration and feels like the country has gone backwards. Laws said she was the first Black person at herelementary school, and eventually went on to be the first Black person and first woman paralegal at her law firm.
“It’s things like that that I see going backwards, not forward,” she said. “This president is turning it on.”
Trump won the Keystone State against Democrat Hillary Clinton by less than one percentage point in 2016. Pennsylvania has long been a swing state in presidential elections, choosing 20 of the last 25 presidents.
David Black, 61, of Chalfont, said that he supports the president because “he has done everything he says, whether you like it or you don’t like it.”
” … And he’s for America first and I like that,” said Black, who responded to the poll and voted for Trump in 2016.
While the majority of likely voters (57%) said the country is on the wrong track, 51% also said they are better off than they were four years ago. About one-third (32%) said the country is on the right track. And 30% said they are worse off than they were four years ago.
Who is seen more favorably?
Biden is also seen more favorably than Trump by likely Pennsylvania voters.
Forty-nine percent have a favorable view of Biden, while 44% have an unfavorable view. Trump is underwater with his favorable-unfavorable numbers, with more likely voters (52%) having an unfavorable view of him than those who have a favorable view (42%).
Autumn Sonnet, 35, of Pittsburgh, said while Biden was not her first choice, she said “now it seems like it’s imperative that he is elected.”
“I think Donald Trump is a dangerous man,” Sonnet said, adding that COVID-19, systemic racism and the economy have been some of her top concerns due to the Trump presidency.
The USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll surveyed a total of 500 likely voters via cell phone and landlines between Oct. 15 and Oct. 19. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
When asked what their top issue in the election was, 26% of likely voters said bringing the country together, which led all other issues. It was followed by jobs and the economy at 23% and COVID-19 at 22%.
The Supreme Court has also been a key topic in recent weeks following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Days after Ginsburg’s death, Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Confirmation hearings were held for Barrett last week and a vote is expected in the coming days.
A majority of likely Pennsylvania voters (58%) said that Trump choosing to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court made no difference in whether they support the president. Comparatively, 23% said that it made them less likely to support Trump for reelection, while 18% said it made them more likely.
Barrett’s confirmation could mean conservative dominance for decades in the Supreme Court, with Republican appointees holding a 6-3 advantage. Since Barrett’s nomination, some Democrats have called for expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
Adding justices to the Supreme Court?
According to the poll, 58% of likely Pennsylvania voters said they do not support adding justices to the Supreme Court, while 27% say they do.
Biden throughout the past several weeks has not made his position clear on so-called court packing, but has said he is “not a fan” of it. When asked about Biden’s comments about not being a fan of packing the court, nearly half of voters (47%) said they viewed them favorably while 36% viewed them unfavorably.
Black is one of the voters who said he does not support adding justices to the Supreme Court.
“You start creating more justices to get the opinions you want,” he said. “It’s almost like ‘well I gotta win and I’m just gonna create new facts.’ “
But Laws said that she supports adding justices to the Supreme Court, adding that it shouldn’t be called court packing.
“I believe it should be called court evening,” Laws said. She said that she believes that the “minority shouldn’t be ruling the majority,” adding that the “the majority of the country is pro choice.”