Race Dramatically Narrows in Pennsylvania as Trump Experiences a Major Bounce

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 27: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump gave the speech in front of 1500 invited guests. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The presidential race in the key swing state of Pennsylvania has dramatically narrowed, appearing to move in President Trump’s direction, a Monmouth University poll released this week revealed.

Joe Biden’s (D) double-digit advantage in Pennsylvania is long behind him as he loses support and Trump continues to gain. The latest Monmouth University survey, conducted after both party conventions (August 28-31), shows Biden up by just four percentage points among registered voters, 49 percent to Trump’s 45 percent. Four percent of voters remain undecided. This reflects a tremendous shift in favor of the president, who was down by double digits in Monmouth University’s mid-July survey, 53 percent to 40 percent.

However, the race could be even slimmer, depending on the model used to predict voter turnout.

One model, which assumes a turnout level higher than the 2016 election, shows the two opponents separated by just three percentage points — 49 percent for Biden and 46 percent for Trump. Another model, which assumes lower turnout, separates Biden and Trump by a single percentage point, 48 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Monmouth’s previous poll showed Biden with a 10-point advantage in the “high” likely voter turnout model and seven-point lead in the “lower” likely voter turnout model.

The survey found that Biden is losing support among men, who favor Trump 56 percent to 37 percent. The margin was much closer in July, 47 percent to 45 percent. While Biden maintains a strong lead with minority voters, 72 percent to 15 percent, the number of those undecided in the group has grown from three percent to nine percent.

“The Republican convention attempted to sow some seeds of doubt among core Democratic blocs, especially young and urban voters,” Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray assessed.

Additionally, Trump has made positive strides in swing counties across the Keystone State:

Trump has increased his support in ten counties where the vote margins were closest in the 2016 presidential election. In these swing counties*, which are concentrated in a swath that runs from the Philadelphia suburbs into the northeast region of the commonwealth, the race stands at 46% for Trump and 44% for Biden. Just over six weeks ago, Biden had a sizable 54% to 35% lead among voters in this key county grouping. Hillary Clinton won the aggregate vote in these ten counties by just over one percentage point four years ago.

“There’s a reason Trump campaigned in Scranton during the Democratic convention. This crucial region of the commonwealth is still up for grabs,” said Murray.

Murray added that the race in Pennsylvania appears to be “a game of inches.”

“The Trump campaign is looking to peel off a little bit of Biden support here and a little bit there. It may be working, despite the fact that Pennsylvania voters personally like the Democrat more, although this gap has narrowed,” he said.

The survey, taken among 400 registered voters in Pennsylvania, has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent, signaling a statistical tie between Biden and Trump in all examined scenarios.

Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics average showed the former vice president up by 4.2 percent. Trump secured Pennsylvania in 2016 than less than a single percentage point.

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