If it’s true that Pennsylvania is won and lost in the Philadelphia suburbs, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in for some good news today.
The latest Franklin and Marshall poll shows Clinton is up 40 points to Donald Trump in Southeastern Pennsylvania — and that doesn’t include Philadelphia, where she’s up even more. The poll of 661 people shows Clinton leads Trump 49 percent to 38 percent among likely voters overall.
A Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won a statewide election in Pennsylvania since 1988 when George H.W. Bush won the Keystone State, but PA has widely been seen as in play for Trump as his populist message appeals to blue-collar workers in the state’s rural areas. And it finally seemed like Pennsylvania was a swing state once again.
But any candidate who wants to win a statewide election in Pennsylvania has to do well in the Philadelphia suburbs. Democrats typically win Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by landslide margins, and Republicans do well in the state’s “T” region — AKA that places where Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are not.
Philadelphia is won and lost in the four counties outside Philadelphia — Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Bucks. A third of the state’s 8.2 million registered voters are in Philly and its suburbs. Those four counties have fluctuated in voter registration over the last several years, but still have a relatively balanced party registration compared to, say, Philadelphia, where Democrats hold an 8-to-1 advantage.
If the Franklin and Marshall poll taken in July is any indication, Clinton is killing it in those counties. The college reports 60 percent of registered voters in the southeast region of the state (again, not including Philadelphia) would vote for Clinton if the election were held today. Twenty percent would vote for Trump, 12 percent would vote for “other” and 7 percent are undecided.
The region is the largest advantage for Clinton, save for Philadelphia, where she leads Trump 83 percent to 7 percent. Trump’s largest lead is in southwest Pennsylvania, where 59 percent of voters would vote Trump while 36 percent would vote Clinton.
When broken down by race, Clinton leads among both white and nonwhite voters. Forty-six percent of white voters responded they would vote for Clinton while 37 percent would vote for Trump. Nearly 80 percent of nonwhite voters in Pennsylvania would vote for Clinton, compared to 9 percent for Trump.
Clinton also leads Trump is every age breakdown. While she garnered right around 50 percent of the vote in every age bracket, voters under 35 were significantly less likely to vote for Trump and more likely to be voting for someone else — likely either libertarian candidate Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
The poll showed the Pennsylvania Senate race is a dead heat, and Democratic candidate Katie McGinty leads Republican Sen. Pat Toomey 39 percent to 38 percent among likely voters.