Biden campaign starting to panic as Pennsylvania polls move in the wrong direction

New data from AdImpac shows that $71.3 million has been spent on campaign ads for the 2024 election so far. Democrats have spent $49.2 million compared to $22.1 by Republicans. More interesting still is that 30% of the total spending has targeted voters in Pennsylvania.

While the Keystone State remains very much in the toss up column, it is slowly trending toward former President Donald Trump, who currently leads President Joe Biden by 2.3 points in the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average of polls in the state. Trump’s lead was bolstered last week by a poll from Cook Political Report that showed him up by 3 points. 

Except for a few brief periods (including a one-day spike in February when Biden led by 1.4%), Trump has held onto a modest lead in Pennsylvania since RCP began tracking results in the state. And if we stripped out the results from left-leaning pollster Susquehanna, even those short-lived upticks would be erased.

The Biden campaign is in a panic over the results in Pennsylvania — and with good reason. The state has the potential to decide the presidential race. If Trump holds all the states he won in 2020, wins the swing states where he is now decisively ahead – Arizona (+4.1 in the RCP average), Georgia (+4.0), and Nevada (+5.3) – and captures Pennsylvania, he will return to the White House. 

If Trump loses Pennsylvania, he will have to win one of the following: Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. Trump is currently ahead in Michigan by 1.1%, in Wisconsin by 0.1%, and trails Biden by 2.3% in Minnesota.

Trump’s lead (both nationally and in Pennsylvania) has undoubtedly received a boost from his ongoing hush money trial in New York. But recent polling shows that his support is growing because of two key demographics: young and non-white voters who are abandoning Biden’s campaign in droves.

A New York Times/Siena College/Philadelphia Inquirer poll released last week, for example, found that support for “Scranton Joe” has fallen from 62% to 47% since 2020 among young voters in Pennsylvania. Likewise, support among black and Hispanic voters for Biden in the state has dropped from 71% to 57% over the same period in the state.

Citing the Times/Siena poll, Christopher Borick, the Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, told The Hill that the president is also “underperforming compared with other Democrats in the state in recent statewide elections.” The poll showed Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who is running for reelection this fall, outperforming Biden by 10 points. 

 Another Democratic strategist (who wished to remain anonymous) referenced the strength of Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-PA) and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) in the 2022 elections and told The Hill, “Statewide Democrats have done very well in the state in recent years and there’s no reason Biden couldn’t do the same. We all know it’s a battleground state but it should never be a dead heat. Biden should always be ahead and the fact that he’s not should sound alarm bells.” 

Borick blames Biden’s underperformance with young voters and nonwhites on the economy. Considering that the economy is the top issue for Americans in most polls, I think that’s an accurate assessment. 

First, despite Biden’s insistence on two recent occasions that inflation was at 9% when he took office, it was 1.4% on his inauguration day. And second, Consumer Price Index reports show only year-over-year growth in prices. The April rate of 3.4% merely tells us that prices have increased 3.4% over the past 12 months. It says nothing about the 20% cumulative increase in consumer prices that has occurred on Biden’s watch. It also ignores the fact that many of the items we purchase every day, such as groceries and energy, are up more than 30%.

This is why, despite his campaign pouring millions of dollars into ads and Biden’s numerous visits to Pennsylvania over the past few months, Biden is failing to “gain ground,” not even “in the reliably blue Philadelphia suburbs,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. And it’s why “voters spanning the state — and across the age spectrum — have deeply negative impressions of [Biden’s] job performance and ability to lead on issues such as the economy.” 

With just over five months until Election Day, and even less time before early voting begins, Biden needs to turn things around fast, which is likely why he challenged Trump to a pair of debates. But even a good performance during the debates — an increasingly difficult feat for the 81-year-old, given that his ability to speak extemporaneously has deteriorated significantly over the past four years — won’t be enough to convince voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere that his policies haven’t made their lives tangibly worse.

A previous version of this article appeared in the Washington Examiner.

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3 thoughts on “Biden campaign starting to panic as Pennsylvania polls move in the wrong direction”

  1. In 2020, Joe Biden carried the Keystone State by 80,555 votes, 3,458,229 (50.01%) to 3,377674 (48.84%), but only because he carried Philadelphia 603,790 (81.44%) to 132,740 (17.90%), a margin of 471,050 votes. Without Philly, President Trump would have carried the Keystone State 3,244,935 (52.56%) to 2,854,439 (46.23%).

    Philadelphia will always vote Democratic, but rather than the hard-left ‘progressives,’ the 2023 Democratic primary there rejected the hard-left mayoral candidate for the tougher-on-crime Cherelle Parker Mullins. Under Mrs Mullins, the city is attempting to clean up the internationally infamous open air drug market in Kensington and get rid of the junkies camping out on the sidewalks near the SEPTA El station there.

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