New PA Poll

Monmuth's latest.

Monmuth’s latest from Pennsylvania shows Biden Holds Lead Despite Trump Gains in Swing Counties.

Biden leads Trump by a 51% to 44% margin among likely Pennsylvania voters in a high turnout model+. The race stands at 50% Biden to 45% Trump in a low turnout scenario – which at this point would basically mean a large number of mail ballots have been rejected. Among all registered voters, 50% support Biden and 45% back Trump while another 1% support Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and 4% are undecided or won’t reveal their vote choice. The undecided number is up slightly from 2% last month.

Biden led by 11% in the high turnout model and by 8% in the low turnout model last month, so that race has tightened a bit. It remains noteworthy that he is still polling at 50%+ in both models even after tightening.

The following is noteworthy, given the small margin of Trump’s win in 2016:

Regionally, Biden holds a 40-point lead (67% to 27%) among registered voters in four large Democratic counties Hillary Clinton won by a cumulative 35 points four years ago. Trump has a 20-point lead (57% to 37%) in the counties he won handily in 2016. This is consistent with his standing in these counties in prior polls, but remains tighter than the 34-point margin he had in the last election.

The swing counties* where vote margins were the closest in 2016 appear to have swung again. The race in these ten counties – which are concentrated in a swath that runs from west of Philadelphia into the northeast region of the commonwealth – currently stands at 49% for Trump and 45% for Biden. Voters in these counties gave the Democrat a 53% to 42% edge a month ago, but were divided at 46% for Trump and 44% for Biden in late August.

Also:

The challenger, on the other hand, has a larger advantage on one major concern – handling the coronavirus pandemic – 47% trust him more on this issue while 34% trust Trump.

Side note: 4.4% of the 2016 PA vote went to third parties, with Libertarian Gary Johnson winning 2.4%.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. mattbernius says:

    This sentence really struck me when I read it this morning:

    The race stands at 50% Biden to 45% Trump in a low turnout scenario – which at this point would basically mean a large number of mail ballots have been rejected.

    Man, it would be great if one of the two major political parties in the US wasn’t committed to making this a low turnout election *after* people already turned out.

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  2. Teve says:

    It’s all over but the right-wing violence.

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  3. @mattbernius:

    Man, it would be great if one of the two major political parties in the US wasn’t committed to making this a low turnout election *after* people already turned out.

    Indeed. This is the central problem for us as a country. It isn’t Trump, it is a party that doesn’t want all the votes to count.

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  4. Mikey says:

    Slate’s Will Saletan has an interesting tweet up about this very poll:

    This comparison of Monmouth’s final PA polls shows how samples have been adjusted to avoid a 2016 surprise. 2016 weighting on left, 2020 on right.

    Dems are down from +11 to +2. And education weighting is added to ensure 64% are non-college.

    Biden leads anyway, by 5 to 7 points.

    There’s a comparison graphic attached to the actual tweet.

    https://twitter.com/saletan/status/1323309442998390787?s=20

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  5. Paine says:

    Biden team is floating early results from North Carolina showing they are currently winning there and Trump need a huge swing tomorrow to make up the difference.

    https://twitter.com/JMilesColeman/status/1323334761893474314

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  6. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @mattbernius:
    Ok, I’ll cop to being dense but: what does”which at this point would basically mean a large number of mail ballots have been rejected.” mean?
    Have a large number of (PA) mail ballots been rejected? How many? Where?

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  7. Mister Bluster says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:..It isn’t Trump, it is a party that doesn’t want all the votes to count.

    Donald Trump is the chosen leader of the Republican Party. I would suggest that he is as complicit in this corruption as are his minions.

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  8. mattbernius says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Have a large number of (PA) mail ballots been rejected? How many? Where?

    Because PA will not begin reviewing and counting until tomorrow, we have no handle on how many will be rejected and what grounds they will be rejected on. I also don’t believe we currently have a good- understanding of how many outstanding mail ballots that have been post-marked *before* election day are still making their way back to the election commissions.

    There have been indications that the Trump team will be focusing much of their ballot contesting efforts in/across PA.

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  9. Jen says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: I don’t think it means that’s happened, I believe it means that, because voting has been so high, the only way you could conceivably even get to a “low turnout” scenario is by rejecting ballots that have already been cast.

    In other words, a “low turnout” scenario is already in the dust–we HAVE high turnout.

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  10. EddieInCA says:

    Still going with Biden with over 350 EVs.

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  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Indeed. This is the central problem for us as a country. It isn’t Trump, it is a party that doesn’t want all the votes to count.

    Which is why the two election reform bills that the House passed in the current session need to be priority #1 for the new Congress. Even if it means smashing the filibuster.

    @EddieInCA:

    A good number and beyond R ratf@cking

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  12. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @mattbernius:

    Because PA will not begin reviewing and counting until tomorrow

    To the best of my understanding the PA ballot return package consists of :
    1) an outer (mailing) envelope that has the name and signature of the voter on the reverse side,
    2) an inner envelope upon the only words are “OFFICIAL PENNSYLVANIA BALLOT”, and the voter is admonished to not write or mark on that envelope.
    3) Inside the inner (secrecy) envelope is the voter’s ballot.

    Is it your opinion that PA will not begin reviewing the outer envelopes and signatures until tomorrow? Asked, b/c the first and largest grouping of ballot rejections will arise from that review of the outer envelopes.

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  13. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Which is why the two election reform bills that the House passed in the current session need to be priority #1 for the new Congress.

    My suspicion is that it will take longer to shepherd an election reform bill through the Senate than everyone wants even minus the filibuster. I read through one of the previous versions as passed by the House, and it is not clear that the existing vote-by-mail systems used in western states will pass muster. Seven of the 13 western states sent ballots by mail to all registered voters this year; those seven will likely account for 12 Democratic Senators come January. I expect many of those 12 to balk at a reform bill that requires their state to change their VBM system.

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  14. Michael Cain says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Is it your opinion that PA will not begin reviewing the outer envelopes and signatures until tomorrow?

    According to Ballotpedia, Pennsylvania’s system is particularly painful. County election officials receive the absentee ballots. Ballots are placed in locked containers. On November 3, the ballots are distributed to district election locations along with other supplies where they will be processed and counted. No one looks at the signatures at all until 7:00 tomorrow morning.

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  15. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jen:
    According to the Election Project (data reported by PA SoS 11/2/2020)

    897 mail ballots have been rejected out of 2,414,000 mail ballots returned.
    Some counties have not yet reported any mail ballots rejected, however this is a sampling:
    Philadelphia County 232 rejected out of 342,000 returned
    Allegheny County 38 were rejected out of 333,000 returned
    Chester County 86 were rejected out of 138,000 returned
    Berks County 165 were rejected out of 59,000 returned
    Berks County currently hold the distinction for having the highest rejection rate in the state at 0.3%

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  16. Franklin says:

    Not as confident here. A large percentage of the undecided’s and even many of the ones saying 3rd party will break Trump’s way. But I still predict Biden wins Pennsylvania by +2 over Trump.

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  17. Paine says:

    Some good news:

    Judge Hanen rejects bid to invalidate 127,000 drive-through ballots in Harris County.

    https://twitter.com/ErnestScheyder

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  18. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Michael Cain:
    See my comment to Jen (above)
    I should have added to that comment (durn no edit button) the following from the election project:
    (durn no quote button)
    ” The few rejected ballots reported here are for first time voters who did not provide required id with their mail ballot or a missing signature.”

    Which, if accurate, suggests that a least the outer envelope has be perused. (maybe not scrutinized (signature comparisons) but at least checked.

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  19. mattbernius says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Is it your opinion that PA will not begin reviewing the outer envelopes and signatures until tomorrow? Asked, b/c the first and largest grouping of ballot rejections will arise from that review of the outer envelopes.

    Saying that “PA” will or will not begin reviewing suggests that this is happening at the State level. That typically isn’t the case. The specific timeline for reviews are set at the County level. So some counties have announced they will start reviewing and tallying beginning tomorrow morning. Others will most likely wait until after the polls have closed (as was usual tradition).

    Also, on signatures, it looks like they cannot be a factor for throwing out ballots (https://www.vox.com/2020/10/24/21531640/pennsylvania-supreme-court-ballots-mail-signatures). That said we won’t know how this works in practice until the reviews begin, with party representatives in place, starting tomorrow. There are also a lot of other grounds that a party representative can try to reject ballots on.

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  20. Steve says:

    Berms county is largely rural with Reading it’s one decent sized town. Almost always votes Republican in POTUS elections. I would xpect Reading to be heavily Democratic so would be easy to pick out votes from city addresses and exclude them.

    Steve

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  21. Jen says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Right…I was trying to get at the context in the article that is excerpted in the OP:

    Biden leads Trump by a 51% to 44% margin among likely Pennsylvania voters in a high turnout model+. The race stands at 50% Biden to 45% Trump in a low turnout scenario – which at this point would basically mean a large number of mail ballots have been rejected.

    Emphasis mine.

    Monmouth was referencing their modeling, and indicating that they only way you could conceivably have a low-turnout scenario, given all other factors, is by having absentee ballots rejected, and a lot of them. Sort of a reverse turnout.

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  22. Gustopher says:

    Biden leads Trump by a 51% to 44% margin among likely Pennsylvania voters in a high turnout model+. The race stands at 50% Biden to 45% Trump in a low turnout scenario – which at this point would basically mean a large number of mail ballots have been rejected.

    I expect that a low turnout model is assuming that less enthusiastic voters don’t show up to the polls. Large numbers of mail ballots being rejected would be removing the high enthusiasm voters, predominantly from the Democrat’s side — the low turnout model wouldn’t apply in that case.

    It would also be a less legitimate election than what the low-turnout model is attempting to capture. At the risk of being hyperbolic, it would be an invitation to a constitutional crisis and/or violence.

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  23. JohnSF says:

    Anyone got any thoughts on this poll by Trafalgar?
    Trump 47.8%, Biden 45.1% (including “leans”)

    Noticed it as latest PA poll reported at 270-to-win
    Rogue poll? How reputable are they?

    Should I discover religion and break out the idols and prayer wheels?

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  24. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jen:
    Got it.
    Had the statement read: ” which at this point would basically mean a large number of mail ballots would have to be rejected. (my modification)
    That would much clearer.

    (But I, of poor writing and grammatical skills, should refrain from throwing rocks or criticizing!)

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  25. mattbernius says:

    @JohnSF:

    Anyone got any thoughts on this poll by Trafalgar?

    Trafalgar is either going to be shown to be brilliant or cooking the books in order to try and capture so-called silent voters. We’ll know the answer to that in about a week or so. They are currently a C- on 538 (see: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/pollster-ratings/).

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  26. Jen says:

    @JohnSF: Please read this thread from Nate Silver about Trafalgar’s polling. Apparently, a fair amount of it is paid-for by clients, so it’s not traditional objective polling, it’s partisan polling done for clients.

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  27. wr says:

    @JohnSF: Trafalgar is to Rasmussen what OAN is to Fox.

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  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Donald Trump is the chosen leader of the Republican Party. I would suggest that he is as complicit in this corruption as are his minions.

    Yes, but the GOP was suppressing the vote long before trump showed up.

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  29. Barry says:

    @JohnSF: “Anyone got any thoughts on this poll by Trafalgar?”

    Trafalgar is the new Rasmussen.

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  30. @Mister Bluster:

    Donald Trump is the chosen leader of the Republican Party. I would suggest that he is as complicit in this corruption as are his minions.

    I wasn’t suggesting otherwise. Just that there is a deeper problem that won’t go away when he does.

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  31. mattbernius says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:
    Was this the site you got those numbers from? This is so cool!

    It also provides some context on those rejections:

    Pennsylvania election officials cannot begin to fully process mail ballots until Election Day. The few rejected ballots reported here are for first time voters who did not provide required id with their mail ballot or a missing signature.

    https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/PA.html

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  32. Northerner says:

    @Paine:

    Biden team is floating early results from North Carolina showing they are currently winning there and Trump need a huge swing tomorrow to make up the difference.

    I don’t understand why the Biden team would want this to be widely known — isn’t that likely to make some of their potential voters there complacent? With one day of voting left, I’d expect the Trump team to be saying how well Biden was doing, and Biden’s team to be downplaying it.

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  33. Jen says:

    @Northerner: they could well be trying to suppress Republican voters.

    The calculus can be tricky. When a reach or difficult state starts to look like it is going your way, you build strength with your voters (e.g., the “eff yeh, we’re winning!” vote), and depress those who feel entitled to win.

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  34. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @mattbernius:
    Yes that is the website (sorry I didn’t provide a link earlier).
    One other complication to keep in mind is that some counties do centralized processing (validation, counting and tallying), while other less populous counties will warehouse the ballots by precinct in till election morning then give all the absentee ballots to each of the precincts. It is then up to the precincts to validate, scan ballots through the precinct’s machines.
    Obviously the precinct can’t reject absentee ballots they have never seen.

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  35. Northerner says:

    @Jen:

    I guess that’s probably right about their intent, but I wonder if its a good strategy. One of the explanations for Trump’s win over Hillary was that many voters who preferred her were sure she’d win that they didn’t bother voting.

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  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: No, you shouldn’t refrain at all. As the reader, you have the right to fully understand what you are reading. Grammar is what makes that level of understanding possible–allowing for not being able to communicate to people who can’t actually read. No matter at what level your grammar skills reside, if you can’t read and understand what the author has written, that author’s grammar is insufficient and should be criticized.

    “What you read is not what I meant” is always on the writer until the reader is established to be disingenuous.

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  37. Ken_L says:

    Polls are pretty meaningless at this late stage, given 100 million votes have already been cast. The traditional pollsters are trying to combine an early voter exit poll with a conventional intentions poll. It doesn’t really cohere.

    Turnout is forecast to be 30 million higher than in 2016. The key question is whether 15 million more Americans than in 2016 are going to get out and vote for the lunatic in the Oval Office. If they do, America is screwed without possibility of redemption.

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  38. Teve says:

    @JohnSF: hey, at least you know how to use apostrophes.

    https://www.lonestar.edu/departments/learningcenter/Apostrophe_Handout.pdf

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  39. JohnSF says:

    @Teve:
    Hah!
    Only sometimes; when I don’t think, or if I type any faster than a two-toed sloth with four thumbs, my apostrophe usage is abysmal.

    And thanks to everyone for the comments on Trafalgar (also saw an rather scathing takedown by Nate Silver online somewhere).

    So, no need just yet to convert to Sivaism, annoint myself with ashes, and call upon the mercies of the Lord of Destruction

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  40. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Berks County has traditionally been strong GOP territory. When I lived there, it hadn’t voted for a Democrat for President in twenty years (LBJ was the last one prior to that point). I don’t know what, if anything, that has to do with their low rejection rate.

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  41. mattbernius says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Had the statement read: ” which at this point would basically mean a large number of mail ballots would have to be rejected. (my modification)
    That would much clearer.

    Oh, LOL, I didn’t realize we were talking past each other because of the construction of that sentence. Perhaps the author just took Strunk and White’s writings about not using the passive voice a little too seriously.

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