The first Emerson Poll of 2019 in Pennsylvania shows former Vice President Joe Biden with a strong lead in the Democratic primary with 39% support. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in second with 20%, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren with 11%, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 6%. (registered voters, March 26-28, n=359, +/- 5.1%).

Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll said that “Sanders in this years state polling is consistently keeping between 35% to 60% of his vote from 2016, suggesting he has a strong base of supporters to work with.” Among those who voted for Sanders in the 2016 Primary, he leads with 36% support, followed by Biden with 25%, Warren with 10% and Buttigieg with 7%.

Sanders, as he has done in previous Emerson polls,  continues to perform the strongest among voters 18-29 years old, with 33%, followed  by Biden with 18%, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard – 13% and Warren – 12%. Biden leads among all other age groups with 40% support among 30-49 years olds, 38% among 50-64 years olds, and 55% among those 65 years or older.

“Mayor Pete has performed well for our third poll in a row, indicating an increase in support for the South Bend Mayor, though Pennsylvania looks like it could be a Joe Biden firewall,” replied Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll

General Election Matchups:

When Trump is matched up against potential Democratic challengers, all fall within the margin of error, except when President Trump faces Biden or Sanders. (Sample size n=808, +/- 3.4%)

Biden 55%/ Trump 45%

Sanders 55%/ Trump 45%

Warren 52%/ Trump 48%

Harris 51%/ Trump 48%

O’Rourke 51%/ Trump 49%

Trump Approval

President Trump’s approval rating in the state is underwater with 51% disapproving of his job performance and 41% approving. However, his support within the Republican party remains strong as he holds a 90% to 10% lead in a potential matchup against former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. (Sample size n=311, +/- 5.5%)

When voters were asked how likely they were to vote for Trump in 2020, 55% said they “were not likely”, while 45% said that they were “likely to vote” for the President. Additionally 49% of voters said their opinion of Trump has worsened since he was elected President, while 35% said their opinion of Trump has improved since his election.

When judging the President’s performance on specific issues, voters are most negative on Trump regarding immigration and health care.

Immigration 45% Approve/ 55% Disapprove

Health Care 44% Approve/ 56% Disapprove

Foreign Policy 48% Approve/ 52% Disapprove

Economic Policy 50% Approve/ 50% Disapprove

Abortion: 50% Approve/ 50% Disapprove

When those who voted for Trump in 2016 were asked what motivated their choice – 62% said it was support for Trump, while 38% said they voted for Trump in opposition to Hillary Clinton.

Other Issues

The Emerson Poll asked voters in Pennsylvania what news source they trust the most. The plurality of voters (35%) responded “none,” followed by cable news with 31%, and newspapers at 15%. When asked what television news source they trusted the most, 37% said Fox News, 18% said CNN, and 16% said MSNBC.

Caller ID

The Pennsylvania statewide Emerson College poll was conducted March 26-28, 2019. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=808, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.4 percentage points. The data was weighted based on mode, 2016 voter model, age, party, and region. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=565) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n=242).

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