Democrats Hold Edge in Pennsylvania Where Trump Factor Matters on Both Sides, Survey Shows

Keystone state considered key to 2018 House majority

 A supporter attends a campaign rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Scranton, Pa., in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats, who are eyeing half a dozen House takeover opportunities in Pennsylvania, have an advantage in voter interest and turnout there leading up to the midterms, according to a poll released Thursday. 

Among registered voters, 60 percent of Democrats said they were “very interested” in the midterms in the August survey from Franklin & Marshall College. That’s compared to 53 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents. The poll also found that by a 48 percent to 39 percent margin, more registered voters prefer the Democratic candidate for House than the Republican one.

Pennsylvania, which got a new congressional map in February, is considered key to Democrats’ goal of netting 23 seats to win a majority. A considerable portion of those could come from Pennsylvania. Of the nine seats in play there, Democrats are favored to win four Republican-held seats, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. President Donald Trump narrowly carried the state in 2016, the first Republican presidential nominee to do so since 1988. 

Trump continues to influence the state’s electorate, the poll showed. Two in three, or 67 percent, of respondents who plan to for a Democratic congressional candidate are casting their ballot mainly as a vote against the president and Republicans in Congress. Three in four, or 74 percent, of those who plan to vote for a Republican candidate are casting their ballot mainly as a vote to support Trump and congressional Republicans. 

The poll surveyed 511 registered voters Aug. 20-26, online or over the telephone, based on their preference. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.

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