President Donald J. Trump's bid to win Pennsylvania just became a bit trickier as his numbers backslide and Democratic challenger Joe Biden takes a seven percentage point lead.
It's a big delineation between July and September when the incumbent president cut Biden's lead in half. Things are now downward turn for Trump in the final 20 days - and it is overwhelmingly because of his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked by voters a few months ago which candidate would be better adept at handling the economy, Trump towered over Biden -- but now they are nearly tied.
Pollsters were overwhelmingly inaccurate in their predictions last time in Pennsylvania where Clinton was on top in nearly every state poll done before the 2016 election cycle. But this time things could be different, Democrats say.
“In 2016, like most people, I assumed Hillary Clinton would win. But I remember traveling to certain parts of Roxborough, and seeing some Trump activity. I thought to myself, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting,” said Rep. Dwight Evans referring to a neighborhood in his hometown of Philadelphia. “Democrats are far more organized now than four years ago. In my view, Joe Biden is much more fit for this state.”
According to Advertising Analytics, Biden did spend approximately five times the amount of ad dollars in Pennsylvania than Trump on television, radio ad digital advertising.
“I think he’s probably 5 or 6 [points] ahead,” said former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. “One, he’s running at maybe a little more than twice the margin that Hillary ran in the Philadelphia suburbs."
Rendell said he thought Biden had an edge over his Democratic predecessor from yesteryear.
“Joe will do as well in the city as Hillary did ... he’ll do better in Lackawanna [County] because he’s a hometown guy,” and “most of those rural counties, Joe will do better than Hillary — not dramatically better, but better.”
Still, Republican supporters paint a different picture of their candidate's chances.
“We’re working tirelessly here. Our committee has never been more organized,” said Gloria Lee Snover, chair of the Northampton County Republican Party. “I think it’s more energized than 2016. I can’t keep Trump signs in. People are fighting over them.”
“When I was running for city council last year, I knocked on the doors of 30,000 of our targeted voters,” said Matthew Wolfe, a GOP ward leader in Philadelphia. “I don’t feel the enthusiasm for Biden in the Bernie Sanders progressive community. They’re going to vote for him if they vote, but I think that the lack of enthusiasm will knock the vote down a peg or two. And I do see some anger. Every time a looter smashes a window on Chestnut Street, Trump picks up some votes.”