While nearly 40 percent of registered voters surveyed in the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll say President Donald Trump is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, Democrat Joe Biden holds a nine-point lead statewide in the poll released Thursday morning.
Trump outperforms his overall job rating on the economy, with 45 percent rating him positively for creating jobs, said G. Terry Madonna, director of the poll. "His ratings on foreign policy and immigration are similar to his overall rating," he said, "although his ratings for handling the COVID-19 outbreak, improving health care and protecting the environment are well below his overall rating.
Biden's lead of nine percentage points in Pennsylvania "is pretty consistent with how he is doing nationally," Madonna said.
The national Quinnipiac Poll results, which were released earlier this month, said their sampling of voters favored Biden over Trump 52 to 37 percent.
Upon its release, Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said, "This is a very unpleasant real-time look at what the future could be for President Trump. There is no upside, no silver lining, no encouraging trend hidden somewhere in this survey for the president."
"My way of thinking is that Trump's problem is the uptick of COVID-19," Madonna said. "Only 29 percent of those we surveyed rate him favorably on handling the pandemic."
The economy, Madonna added, is another problem for Trump. "It doesn't look like it's growing like it was in March and April. I believe it is a combination of those two things that is responsible for Biden's lead."
If the economy improves by November, and the coronavirus is under control, that is Trump's best chance to win re-election, Madonna said. "We have 93 days before we vote. That is a lot of time for things to happen. Something could come up that might help the president. So I'm not saying he can't win re-election.
"He obviously has some problems that have to be worked out," Madonna said.
State headed in right direction
Meanwhile, the Franklin & Marshall College Poll also looked at statewide issues and found that 48 percent of the state’s registered voters believe the state is “headed in the right direction,” which is below the recent high of 57 percent reported in October 2019.
This general optimism, Madonna said, holds despite significant concern about COVID-19.
Registered voters list COVID-19 (32 percent) as the most important problem facing the state today. Twenty percent of respondents reported a family member or close friend has contracted COVID-19, although 63 percent think they are unlikely to contract it during the next three months.