Suffolk University Poll Shows Biden Leading Trump in Pennsylvania

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 49% to 42% in Pennsylvania, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of voters likely to cast ballots in the November presidential election. There are three candidates listed on the Pennsylvania ballot. Libertarian Jo Jorgensen was the choice of 1% of voters, with 4% of voters undecided.

Demographic Divide

  • Gender: Trump leads 50 – 42 among men, while Biden leads 54 – 36 among women.
  • Issues: Trump leads 85 – 11 among those who said jobs/economy is the most important issue, while Biden leads 81 – 12 among those who said COVID-19 is most important and 55 – 35 among those who said bringing the country together is most important.
  • Race: Trump and Biden are tied at 47% with white voters, while Biden leads Trump 58 - 19 among non-white voters. 

“On the surface it appears to be a positive sign for President Trump that Republican registration is up in Pennsylvania and a majority of voters in the poll say they are personally better off than they were four years ago. Yet, it is Biden who finds himself in a bit of a stronger position in Pennsylvania than Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election,” said David Paleologos, Director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Today, Biden doesn’t have Clinton’s high unfavorable rating, coronavirus is running rampant, Democratic voters are disproportionately casting mail-in ballots in large numbers, and people who didn’t vote in 2016 are breaking heavily to Biden.”

The poll indicated that 48% of those who did not vote in 2016 will be voting for Biden, compared to 33% for Trump. 


President Trump’s recent nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court may not prove to be as impactful as he hoped, with 56% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans saying it makes “no difference” in their likelihood to vote for President Trump. Independent voters were also largely unaffected, as 61% of independents stated the nomination made no difference to their vote.  

Court Packing

On the issue of “court packing,” 58% of voters oppose Congress expanding the Supreme Court to more than 9 justices, compared to only 27% who approve of the idea. Joe Biden previously stated that he is “not a fan of court packing.” Forty-seven percent of people view the former Vice President’s statement favorably, compared to 36% of voters who view Biden’s comment unfavorably. Although 81% of Republicans oppose court packing, 57% have an unfavorable opinion of Biden’s position on the subject. 


Trump continues to see low approval ratings in response to his handling of COVID-19. When asked to rate President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, 52% of voters scored him as poor, with just 11% giving him a fair rating; 18% said Trump was doing a good job, and another 18% gave him an excellent rating. Women were significantly more likely to give Trump low marks, with 59% feeling his response has been poor compared to 44% of men.

Mail-in Voting

A majority of Pennsylvania voters are worried that widespread mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud, with 54% indicating they are very or somewhat concerned; 45%of voters are either not very concerned or not at all concerned that widespread mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud. 

There is a clear partisan divide when looking at how Pennsylvanians plan to vote. Fifty-five percent of voters in Pennsylvania plan to vote in person on Election Day, but just 34% of those November 3rd in-person voters are Democrats compared to 78% that identify as Republicans. Conversely, 54% of Democrats will be sending mail-in ballots compared to 16% of Republicans. Thirty-two percent of Democrats surveyed indicated that they have already cast their ballot through mail-in or early voting, compared to just 7% of Republicans. 


The Pennsylvania survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Oct. 15 – Oct. 19, using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the 2020 general election. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website: For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].


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