Muhlenberg College/Morning Call Pennsylvania Presidential Election Survey: February 2020

In the first Muhlenberg College/Morning Call election poll of 2020, President Donald Trump and the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination are shown to be in a tight race for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes. The results of a telephone survey of registered state voters, conducted between February 12 and 20, reveal that only Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders claims a lead over Trump in a head-to-head matchup.

“Despite former Vice President Joe Biden’s Pennsylvania roots, state voter polling shows he and President Trump would be tied at 47 percent if the election were held today,” says Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. “This is a distinct change from just a few months ago. In our November poll when responding to the same question, state voters gave Biden a solid lead at 52 percent, with Trump trailing at 43 percent.” 

“In our latest poll, while a majority of Pennsylvania voters (54 percent) feel that Trump does not deserve reelection, they gave him high marks for his management of the economy,” says Borick, adding that Trump also earned very negative ratings for his work on health care and the environment.

Key Findings:

  • Trump narrowly trails in a matchup with Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders (46%-49%); is locked in ties with former Vice President Joe Biden (47%-47%) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (47%-47%); and holds slim leads over Senator Amy Klobuchar (45%-44%), former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (46%-45%) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (48%-45%). All are within the poll's margin of error of 5.5%.
  • Since November of 2019, President Trump’s job approval rating among Pennsylvania voters has modestly improved with 42% approving of his work as President and 50% disapproving, compared to 40% approving and 56% disapproving last fall.
  • A majority of Pennsylvania voters (54%) feel that President Trump does not deserve reelection, compared with 42% that believe the 45th President deserves a second term in office.
  • Pennsylvania voters give Trump high marks for his management of the economy (58% approve) but very negative ratings for his work on health care (36% approve) and the environment (31% approve).
  • While most Pennsylvania voters said the impeachment process did not have an impact on their vote in the presidential election, twice as many (22% to 11%) reported the process made them more likely to vote for President Trump than less likely to support the president’s reelection bid.
  • Pennsylvania voters are fairly divided on the issue of fracking, with 42% indicating they disagree with placing a moratorium on fracking in the state, and 38% agreeing with this policy option.  At the same time, 44% of voters agree that fracking poses a major risk to the health of Pennsylvanians, compared to 36% that disagree with this claim.

Muhlenberg College/Morning Call February 2020 Election Survey (Full Report/PDF)

Methodological Statement:
The following report contains the results of a telephone survey of 424 registered voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania between February 12 and 20, 2020.  Respondents were interviewed in English on both landlines (136) and cell phones (289). With a randomly selected sample of respondents, the margin of error for the surveys is +/- 5.5% at a 95% level of confidence. Margins of error for questions with smaller sample size will be larger. In addition to sampling error, one should consider that question wording and other fielding issues can introduce error or bias into survey results. The data has been weighted to gender, age, region, party, race and educational attainment to reflect voter population parameters. The calculation of sampling error takes into account design effects due to the weighting identified above.  In order to reach a representative sample of registered voters, both landlines and cell phones were called up to three times. The response rate for this survey as calculated using the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) RRII formula is approximately 8%. The sampling frame for the study is from the registered voters files of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Due to rounding the totals provided in the frequency report may not total 100%. The survey instrument (presented in its entirety below) was designed by Christopher P. Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO), in conjunction with the staff of the Morning Call. The survey was funded exclusively by the Morning Call and the MCIPO. For more detailed information on the methods employed, please call 484-664-3444 or email cborick@muhlenberg.edu. 

FREQUENCY REPORT AND INSTRUMENT

Q1: Thank you. Which of the following categories best describes your current voting status? Are you registered as a ______? (READ LIST)                                                                                    

  • Democrat………………………………………………..47%                               
  • Republican………………………………………………40%                               
  • Independent……………………………………………11%
  • Other party……………………………………………….3%
  • Not registered to vote in Pennsylvania (END SURVEY)                                                                                        

Q2: Next, do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President?       

  • Approve……………………………....42%                                                                                          
  • Disapprove…………………………..50%
  • Not sure (volunteered)………….9%         

TIME SERIES

 

NOVEMBER 2019

FEBRUARY 2020

Approve

40%

42%

Disapprove

56%

50%

Not Sure

  4%

9%

Q3: Do you think Donald Trump deserves to be re-elected as President, or not?

  • Deserves re-election……………….....42%
  • Does not deserve re-elected……….54%
  • Not sure (volunteered)………………...4%

 

NOVEMBER 2019

FEBRUARY 2020

Deserves re-election

42%

42%

Does not deserve re-elected

57%

54%

Not Sure

  2%

4%

 

(QUESTIONS 4-9 ROTATED)

Q4: Now, if the 2020 presidential election was being held today and the race was between Donald Trump and Joe Biden who would you vote for? (OPTIONS ROTATED)

  • Trump …………………………47%
  • Biden…………………………..47%                                                                    
  • Neither/other …………………2%                            
  • Not sure (volunteered)……4%                                                           

TIME SERIES                                   

 

NOVEMBER 2019

FEBRUARY 2020

Trump

43%

47%

Biden

52%

47%

Neither/Other

4%

2%

Not Sure

2%

4%


Q5: And if the race was between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders who would you vote for? (OPTIONS ROTATED)
           

  • Trump …………………………….46%
  • Sanders…………………………...49%                                                                  
  • Neither/other …………………….3%                           
  • Not sure (volunteered)………3% 

TIME SERIES

 

NOVEMBER 2019

FEBRUARY 2020

Trump

45%

46%

Sanders

50%

49%

Neither/Other

4%

3%

Not Sure

1%

3%


Q6: And if the race was between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren who would you vote for? (OPTIONS ROTATED)
        

  • Trump …………………………….47%
  • Warren…………………………….47%                                                                 
  • Neither/other ……………………….4%                           
  • Not sure (volunteered)…………3%

TIME SERIES

 

NOVEMBER 2019

FEBRUARY 2020

Trump

45%

47%

Warren

50%

47%

Neither/Other

4%

4%

Not Sure

1%

3%


Q7: And if the race was between Donald Trump and Amy Klobuchar who would you vote for? (OPTIONS ROTATED)

  • Trump ……………………………..45%
  • Klobuchar………………………...44%                                                                  
  • Neither/other ……………………...3%                          
  • Not sure (volunteered)…………8%

Q8: And if the race was between Donald Trump and Pete Buttigieg who would you vote for? (OPTIONS ROTATED)             

  • Trump ……………………………46%
  • Buttigieg………………………… 45%                                                                    
  • Neither/other …………………….3%                            
  • Not sure (volunteered)………5%

Q9: And if the race was between Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg who would you vote for? (OPTIONS ROTATED)      

  • Trump ……………………………48%
  • Bloomberg……………………….45%                                                                    
  • Neither/other …………………….2%
  • Not sure (volunteered)……….5% 

Q10:  What is the most important issue for you in terms of deciding your vote in the 2020 presidential election? (Open-ended, coded into categories)

ISSUE

%

Economy

21%

Health Care

15%

Getting Rid of Trump

8%

Environment

6%

Character

5%

Immigration

4%

Keeping Trump

4%

Social Justice/Equality

4%

Education

3%

Abortion

3%

Military/Security

3%

Taxes

2%

Uniting the Country

2%

Competency

2%

Guns

2%

Foreign Affairs

2%

Senior Citizen issues

2%

Law Enforcement

1%

Other

4%

Unsure/None

7%


Q11:  Overall, would you say that your financial situation is better, worse or about the same since President Trump took office in 2017?

  • Better……………………….....40%
  • Worse……………………….....11%
  • About the same…………….48%
  • Not sure (volunteered)……1%

Now I would like to ask you if you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove or strongly disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the areas I mention. First: (Rotate) 

 

Strongly Approve

Somewhat Approve

Somewhat Disapprove

Strongly Disapprove

Not Sure

Q12: The Economy

38%

20%

13%

21%

8%

Q13:  Health Care

15%

21%

14%

36%

15%

Q14: The Environment

14%

17%

13%

44%

13%

Q15: Immigration

33%

9%

11%

41%

6%

Q16: Foreign Affairs

29%

12%

10%

40%

10%

Q17: Next I have a few questions regarding the impeachment of President Trump.  First, do you approve or disapprove of the Senate’s decision to acquit Donald Trump and NOT remove him from the presidency?

  • Approve……………………..49%
  • Disapprove………………….44%
  • Not sure (volunteered)…7% 

Q18: Has the impeachment process made you more or less likely to vote for President Trump in November or has it not changed how you plan to vote in the Presidential election?

  • More likely to vote for Trump………………22%
  • Less likely to vote for Trump……………….11%
  • Not changed planned November vote…65%
  • Not sure (volunteered)………………………....2%

Q19: Now thinking about the presidential election in November, do you think that Pennsylvania is very prepared, prepared, not very prepared or not prepared at all to keep this November’s elections safe and secure?

  • Very prepared………………11%
  • Prepared………………………..43%
  • Not very prepared…………15%
  • Not prepared at all………….3%
  • Not sure………………………...28%

Q20: Which of the following do you consider to be the biggest threat to Pennsylvania having a safe, secure and accurate election in November? (ROTATE OPTIONS)

  • Foreign interference in the election…….....17%
  • Voting machines malfunctioning……………… 22%
  • Voter fraud………………………………………….......25%
  • Suppression of individuals from voting…….21%
  • Other factor (volunteered)………………………..15%
  • Not sure……………………………………………...........1%

Next a few questions about the issue of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” as it’s commonly known. For each of the statements I read about fracking please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the statement. First: (ROTATE OPTIONS)

 

Strongly Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Not Sure

Q21: Fracking has been a major boost to Pennsylvania’s economy.

25%

25%

15%

11%

25%

Q22:  Fracking in Pennsylvania has provided more positives than negatives for the state.

17%

21%

21%

16%

24%

Q23: Pennsylvania should put a moratorium or ban on fracking in the state.

19%

19%

19%

23%

20%

Q24: Natural gas drilling poses a major risk to the health of Pennsylvania residents.

23%

21%

21%

15%

20%


Q25: Finally, I have a few questions about yourself. Which of the following categories best describes your racial identity?  Are you (READ LIST)?
 

  • White/Caucasian………………80%                                                       
  • African-American………………..9%                                                       
  • Hispanic/Latino…………………..5%
  • Asian………………………….. ….2%                                                                                                          
  • Native American………………..<1%                                                                                                          
  • Mixed race………………………..2%
  • Other……………………………....2%                                                                                            
  • Not sure (volunteered)………...<1%                                                                                                      

Q26: Which of the following categories best describes your religious affiliation?  Are you (READ LIST)?                            

  • Catholic……………………………..32%                                                                 
  • Protestant…………………………...34%                                                                 
  • Jewish………………………………...2%                                                               
  • Muslim………………………………...2%                                                                 
  • Hindu…………………………………..<1%                                                              
  • Other religion (including Agnostic).....21%                   
  • Atheist…………………………………....7%                                                              
  • Not sure (volunteered)………………….2%                                                                                     

Q27: What is your highest level of education? (READ LIST)                                                               

  • Less than high school…………………......2%                                    
  • High school graduate………………….....30%                                   
  • Some college or technical school……30%                                 
  • College graduate (4 yr only)…………..24%                                 
  • Graduate or professional degree…….14%                                                                  

Q28:  In the 2016 Presidential election did you vote for:

  • Donald Trump…………………………………………….40%
  • Hillary Clinton……………………………………………..40%
  • Another candidate………………………………………….5%
  • Or did you not vote in the 2016 presidential election….13%
  • Not sure……………………………………………………...1%

Q29: Which of the following categories best describes your family income? Is it (READ LIST)?                                                              

  • Under $20,000……………….10%                                                           
  • $20,000-$40,000……………..17%                                                          
  • $40,000-$60,000……………..19%                                                          
  • $60,000-$80,000……………..17%                                                          
  • $80,000-$100,000……………10%                                                        
  • Over $100,000………………..24%                                                          
  • Not sure (volunteered)………...3%                                          

Q30: In which of the following age categories does your current age fall. (READ LIST)

  • 18-29……………..16%
  • 30-49……………..26%
  • 50-65……………..32%
  • Over 65…………..25%

Q31:  Finally to which gender identity do you most identify? (READ LIST)

  • Male………………………………………………49%
  • Female……………………………………………51%
  • Or another category besides male or female…<1%  

SELECTED CROSSTABS

President Trump Approval Ratings                                                                    

 

Approve

Disapprove

Not Sure

OVERALL

42%

50%

9%

Male (49%)

47%

46%

7%

Female (51%)

36%

53%

11%

Democrat (47%)

11%

81%

9%

Republican (40%)

80%

11%

9%

Independent (10%)

37%

58%

6%

College Degree (35%)

36%

58%

7%

No College Degree (65%)

46%

44%

10%

White (79%)

49%

44%

7%

Non-White (21%)

15%

68%

16%

Philadelphia (13%)

16%

82%

3%

Philadelphia Suburbs (21%)

40%

50%

10%

Alleghany County (11%)

36%

56%

9%

Northeast PA (13%)

59%

31%

10%

Remainder of State (42%)

50%

42%

8%

18-29 (15%)

28%

54%

18%

30-49 (26%)

41%

48%

11%

50-64 (32%)

49%

47%

5%

65 and Over (25%)

42%

52%

6%

Trump vs. Biden

 

Trump

Biden

Neither/Other/Not Sure

OVERALL

47%

47%

6%

Male (49%)

53%

43%

4%

Female (51%)

42%

51%

7%

Democrat (47%)

12%

80%

8%

Republican (40%)

92%

6%

2%

Independent (10%)

24%

65%

11%

College Degree (35%)

43%

54%

3%

No College Degree (65%)

50%

42%

8%

White (79%)

55%

40%

4%

Non-White (21%)

14%

74%

12%

Philadelphia (13%)

8%

84%

8%

Philadelphia Suburbs (21%)

47%

47%

6%

Alleghany County (11%)

42%

56%

2%

Northeast PA (13%)

67%

22%

11%

Remainder of State (42%)

57%

38%

5%

18-29 (15%)

39%

55%

5%

30-49 (26%)

40%

48%

12%

50-64 (32%)

58%

41%

1%

65 and Over (25%)

47%

47%

6%

Trump vs. Sanders

 

Trump

Sanders

Neither/Other/Not Sure

OVERALL

46%

49%

6%

Male (49%)

50%

47%

4%

Female (51%)

42%

51%

7%

Democrat (47%)

11%

81%

8%

Republican (40%)

90%

6%

4%

Independent (10%)

28%

67%

5%

College Degree (35%)

41%

55%

4%

No College Degree (65%)

49%

44%

7%

White (79%)

54%

41%

4%

Non-White (21%)

13%

77%

10%

Philadelphia (13%)

11%

85%

4%

Philadelphia Suburbs (21%)

47%

42%

11%

Alleghany County (11%)

32%

61%

7%

Northeast PA (13%)

66%

24%

11%

Remainder of State (42%)

55%

42%

3%

18-29 (15%)

33%

61%

6%

30-49 (26%)

38%

56%

6%

50-64 (32%)

56%

42%

3%

65 and Over (25%)

49%

42%

9%

Trump vs. Warren

 

Trump

Warren

Neither/Other/Not Sure

OVERALL

47%

47%

7%

Male (49%)

52%

44%

4%

Female (51%)

41%

50%

9%

Democrat (47%)

12%

78%

10%

Republican (40%)

89%

10%

1%

Independent (10%)

29%

61%

10%

College Degree (35%)

41%

55%

3%

No College Degree (65%)

50%

41%

9%

White (79%)

54%

40%

5%

Non-White (21%)

13%

75%

12%

Philadelphia (13%)

12%

82%

6%

Philadelphia Suburbs (21%)

48%

42%

10%

Alleghany County (11%)

33%

55%

11%

Northeast PA (13%)

63%

26%

11%

Remainder of State (42%)

56%

41%

3%

18-29 (15%)

36%

53%

11%

30-49 (26%)

43%

51%

7%

50-64 (32%)

54%

44%

3%

65 and Over (25%)

49%

46%

6%

VIEWS ON BIGGEST THREAT TO PENNSYLVANIA HAVING A SAFE, SECURE AND ACCURATE ELECTION BY PARTISAN AFFILIATION AND VIEWS ON PRESIDENT TRUMP

 

Foreign interference in the election

Voting machines malfunctioning

Voter fraud

Suppression of individuals from voting

Other factor

Democrat (47%)

21%

20%

17%

30%

13%

Republican (40%)

10%

28%

36%

9%

15%

Independent (11%)

23%

13%

21%

26%

17%

Approve of Trump (42%)

10%

22%

41%

10%

16%

Disapprove of Trump (50%)

24%

23%

12%

22%

11%

 



                     

 

 

 

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