Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by four points in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, 49 percent to 45 percent, according to a poll released on Friday by Muhlenberg College/Morning Call.
The poll of 416 likely voters was conducted between August 11 and August 17 and has a 5.5 percent margin of error. Since Biden’s four point advantage over Trump is within that margin of error, the race in the Keystone State is a statistical tie.
In the 2016 presidential election, President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania by a mere 68,000 votes out of 5.9 million votes cast, giving him the state’s 20 electoral college votes, which provided a significant boost to his final election day tally of 306 electoral college votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232. With 538 total electoral college votes, a majority of 270 is needed to win the presidency.
(Note: Due to seven faithless electors, the final electoral college tally when the votes were tabulated in a joint session of Congress in January 2017 was 304 for Trump and 227 for Clinton.)
According to the poll:
The President’s efforts to once again win the Keystone State’s 20 electoral votes is hindered by the majority of Pennsylvania likely voters who disapprove of his handling of the presidency (51%), and who believe that President Trump does not deserve reelection (53%).
Despite his narrow lead over Trump in the poll, Biden also exhibits liabilities, with more likely voters in the Commonwealth viewing him unfavorably (46%) than favorably (39%).
In the midst of the economic struggles that have accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, only 10% of likely voters in Pennsylvania said their financial situation is worse than it was before Trump took office, with 40% stating their financial situation is better now. These levels are largely unchanged since the last Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll in February.
“Given the current unemployment levels, we expected some shifts in these numbers,” Chris Borick, director of Muhlenberg’s Institute for Public Opinion, said of the poll.
“We know many people’s economic standing has suffered during the coronavirus pandemic crisis. I believe voters are appraising their economic situation not so much in the moment but rather over the span of Trump’s presidency,” Borick added.
According to the Real Clear Politics Average of Polls, Biden leads Trump in Pennsylvania by 5.7 points.
In recent weeks, Trump has been gaining in battleground states. According to Real Clear Politics Average of polls in the top battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona, Biden’s lead has dropped to 4.2 points.
In Minnesota, where Hillary Clinton won by just 44,000 votes in 2016, the Real Clear Politics Average of Polls shows that Biden’s lead has dropped to 5.3 points.