A top pollster said the debate helped Biden, but Trump's positions on key issues are helping Biden more.
Polling results in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania show a growing lead for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. A top pollster attributes Biden's lead to the candidates' policy positions.
A Monmouth University Polling Institute poll conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4 and released Tuesday found Biden with a 54% to 42% lead among registered voters. The same pollster had shown Biden up by just a 4% margin in August.
RealClear Politics' polling average now shows Biden leading in the Pennsylvania by 6.5 points. FiveThirtyEight's average shows Biden's lead at 6.6%. These are the largest leads for Biden since before the national party conventions in August.
While Biden gained a little ground following the first presidential debate — at which Trump repeatedly interrupted, heckled, hectored, and refused to denounce violent white supremacists — Monmouth's director of polling, Patrick Murray, said this was not the main reason for the shift.
"If any recent event moved the needle it was more likely last week's debate than the president's COVID diagnosis," Murray said in the polling memo. "What seems to be more important than either event, though, is voters' focus on which candidate they trust more on the issues that keep them up at night."
Monmouth's survey found voters trust Biden over Trump on keeping health care affordable and accessible (48% to 34%); maintaining law and order (45% to 41%); and handling the pandemic (52% to 32%). Trump held a 44% to 39% advantage on creating jobs and strengthening the economy.
With 20 electoral votes, Pennsylvania is considered a key swing state in the 2020 election. Trump barely won there in 2016, and forecasters believe it the most likely state to be the "tipping point" for the eventual winner this year.
Biden traveled to Pennsylvania on Tuesday for a speech in Gettysburg in which he called for national unity. Last week, he received the endorsements of key labor unions in the state, where the unemployment rate has nearly doubled on Trump's watch.
Biden's growing lead in Pennsylvania coincides with the results of national polling as well. RealClear Politics puts Biden's nationwide polling average at 9.2% higher than Trump's — his largest margin since July.
New York Times polling analyst Nate Cohn noted on Tuesday: "If the polls were exactly as wrong as they were over the final three weeks in 2016, Biden would still win with over 300 electoral votes." Just 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.