Donald Trump has reached a statistical tie in Pennsylvania with Hillary Clinton, who leads the Republican nominee in a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll by just 3 points, 44% to 41% — well within the poll’s 5-point margin of error.
In a four-way race that includes Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, the Pennsylvania race is even close, with Clinton leading Trump by just 2 points. The poll surveyed 486 likely voters from September 19 to 23.
Pennsylvania is one of several traditionally blue states that Trump hopes to flip, focusing on his core messages of opposing illegal immigration and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. In Pennsylvania, Trump is also hoping to capitalize specifically on Clinton’s vocal opposition to the coal industry, as part of the environmental agenda she has adopted.
Trump’s gambit appears to be working: Clinton led by double digits in early August, but her lead has dropped steadily since then.
Coal-heavy areas of the Midwest and Appalachia were once Clinton strongholds, especially in the 2008 Democratic Party primary. However, as former President Bill Clinton recently remarked at a rally in Homewood, Pennsylvania that “the coal people don’t like any of us anymore.”
Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes, the fifth-most of any state. Republican presidential candidates have often hoped to carry Pennsylvania, as well as Michigan, in recent elections. However, neither state has voted for a Republican nominee since 1988, when George H.W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis.
The new poll in Pennsylvania comes as another poll, by the Washington Post and ABC News, shows a statistical tie at the national level, with Clinton leading Trump 49%-47% in a two-person contest, and 46%-44% in a four-person contest, both within the poll’s 4.5% margin of error.
The first presidential debate is on Monday, Sep. 26, at 9 p.m. EDT at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.