A Washington Post-ABC poll released Tuesday morning, the day of the first debate between Trump and Democratic for Joe Biden, shows the president trailing Biden among female voters by 23 percentage points, an almost insurmountable gender gap for the president as he struggles to win the battleground state.
The poll shows Biden ahead, 54% to 44%, among registered voters and up 54% to 45% among likely voters, the latter statistic being more relevant with just five weeks to go before Election day. That deficit is largely due to Biden’s 61%-38% advantage among female voters.
Trump is favored by men, 53% of whom prefer the president and 46% of whom plan to vote for Biden. Not only does Trump’s lead among men not erase his disadvantage among female voters, but women are a majority of voters. In 2016, 53% of Pennsylvania voters were women, according to exit polls – and they voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton by a 13-point margin, with 53% casting ballots for Clinton and 42% for then-first time candidate Trump.
Cartoons on the 2020 Election
A New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday had similar gender gap numbers, with 58% of women in the Keystone State saying they planned to vote for Biden, and 32% for the president. Trump’s advantage among men was somewhat narrower, with 49% of male voters supporting the president and 41% saying they support the Democratic former vice president.
Pennsylvania is a critical state for Trump, who has almost no path to reelection without it. Among the three former “Blue Wall” states Trump wrested from the Democrats by razor-thin margins in 2016 – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – Biden has held a consistent, but narrower, lead in his birth state of Pennsylvania.
But since Labor Day, a traditional time for campaigns to ramp up and polling to narrow and harden, Biden has held steady. In fact, his average lead in polling – 5.2% – is the highest it’s been since Labor Day.
The Washington Post/ABC survey found that white women, who favored Trump in Pennsylvania in 2016, 50% to 47% for Clinton, now prefer Biden. The former vice president now leads Trump among white women in Pennsylvania by 56% to 43%, a dramatic swing from four years ago.
Trump is also trailing among suburban voters, 54%-45%, and by an even bigger margin among suburban women, 59% of whom favor Biden compared to 41% who back Trump. The gap is especially notable because suburban voters make up 6 out of 10 Pennsylvania voters, the poll’s authors note.
The survey was taken before an explosive report in The New York Times detailing Trump’s personal tax history, including the revelation that he paid just $750 in federal income taxes in each of the tax years 2016 and 2017 – and no federal income taxes at all for 10 out of the previous 15 years.
Trump does have relatively strong numbers on the economy, with 53% of voters saying they approve of his handling of it. But he fares badly on another major crisis, the pandemic, with 57% saying they disapprove of his handling of the coronavirus. Fifty-five percent disapprove of Trump’s overall job performance.