F&M poll: Biden slips, Sanders gains among Pa. voters

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. raise their hands to answer a question Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Former Vice President Joe Biden's hold on Pennsylvania voters is slipping as Sen. Bernie Sanders' increasing support mirrors national trends, according to a new poll from Franklin & Marshall College.

The poll released Thursday, Jan. 30, shows Biden, a moderate Democrat, polling at 22%. That's down 8 percentage points from the college's last poll in Oct. 2019. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, sits at 15%, a three-point increase since the last poll.

"The preferences of registered Democrats in Pennsylvania are less clear than in the October poll," the poll notes. "The standings of the Democratic primary race in Pennsylvania are similar to the standings of the race nationally."

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Sanders, running on the party's left flank, has seen his support rise in several early voting states, including Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Sanders, of Vermont, holds a 3.6% lead over Biden in Iowa, according to an average of Democratic primary polls by RealClearPolitics. He holds a 9.5% lead over Biden in New Hampshire and also is ahead in California.

Biden does have leads in both Nevada and South Carolina, but in all cases, Sanders comes in second. Nationally, Biden holds a 5-point lead over Sanders, according to a Pew Research Center poll. 

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Sen. Elizabeth Waren, D-Mass., comes behind Sanders at 14%, according to the poll. She is followed by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomburg, who has poured millions of his own money into the race, at 7%. 

Bloomberg has spent more than $10 million on television and radio ads in the state’s six media markets, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad-tracking firm.

The billionaire's presence has pushed Pete Buttigieg down the ladder, with the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, polling at 6%. That's down two points from Oct. 2019.

All of the Democratic candidates have made defeating President Donald Trump a central point in their campaigns. In the swing state of Pennsylvania, most voters are ready for change, the Franklin & Marshall poll found.

About 38% of registered voters in the state believe Trump is doing an "excellent" or "good" job in office, according to the poll. While that's an increase from October polling, 57% of voters believe the country needs to go in a different election.

Franklin & Marshal's poll, conducted between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26, is based on responses from 628 registered voters in the state.

There were 292 Democrats, 251 Republicans and 85 independents who participated.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.