New polling shows President Biden is losing support from the suburban voters in Pennsylvania who helped catapult him to office in last year’s election.
At the same time, the level of support the president still receives in Pennsylvania’s suburbs is better when compared to other swing states.
According to Morning Consult, Biden’s net approval is underwater by three points in Pennsylvania’s suburban core. In neighboring Ohio, the president’s suburban approval stands at minus 10.
Even though Biden’s net approval stands at only minus three in the Keystone State suburbs, the numbers still mark a tremendous reversal through the first nine months of his term when compared to the previous support he enjoyed. Similar polling from the first quarter of the Biden presidency showed him with a net approval rating of 11 points, meaning the total slide in support is a remarkable move of 14 total points in the negative direction.
The majority of that shift in voter sentiment has occurred after July, according to the Morning Consult analysis. Issues like inflation, the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and a deteriorating situation at the U.S. border have all been cited as issues weighing down the president’s popularity.
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As for the suburbs in other key swing states that Biden won in the 2020 election, support for the president was underwater — by nine points in Arizona, three in Georgia, and seven in Wisconsin.
The results could point to Republican tailwinds for the midterm elections that occur one year from now that will feature an open governor’s chair and U.S. Senate seat in the Keystone State.
“When it comes to The Cook Political Report’s nine most competitive Senate battlegrounds, Biden’s net approval rating has fallen underwater in the suburbs of all states except New Hampshire since the first quarter of the year, tugging on his popularity in states that feature open-seat contests such as North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania,” Morning Call noted.
“America’s suburbs helped fuel the Democratic Party’s electoral victories during Donald Trump’s presidency, but what these dense and educated enclaves giveth, they look primed to taketh away,” the report said.
The polling and data website Five Thirty Eight, which does meta-analysis of polling groups across the country, gives Morning Consult a “B” grade, and notes that it has a slight bias towards Democrats.
Democrats had hoped that increased turnout in Philadelphia last year would swamp the 77,000-vote margin that President Trump used to win Pennsylvania in 2016. Instead, Trump shocked most political pundits and observers by gaining ground in Philadelphia, but losing turf in the southeast “collar counties” where Biden outperformed.
Trump shocked most political pundits and observers by gaining ground in Philadelphia, but losing turf in the southeast “collar counties” where Biden outperformed.
“The four counties that make up the city’s suburbs — Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks — saw a surge [in 2020] in both the size of the electorate and support for the Democratic presidential candidate,” NPR reported.
This week’s off-year election could also be a signal of where the 2022 elections might be headed.
As local issues like school board elections have quickly become national flashpoints in a culture battle, Pennsylvania will vote on hundreds of school board seats on Tuesday, as well as statewide judicial races where conservatives are looking to make up ground. In many of these races, the results will directly reflect on incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis with respect to schools.
In addition, the school board races could reflect how deeply the flashpoint of “diversity and equity” issues in Pennsylvania’s public schools may have shifted the electorate, as appears to be happening in Virginia, where that issue has become a focal point in the governor’s race.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at tshepherd at broadandliberty.com, or use his encrypted email at shepherdreports at protonmail.com.