After a recent swing through the keystone state, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign released internal polling showing the Vermont senator besting President Trump in a hypothetical head to head matchup in Pennsylvania.
A poll conducted by Tulchin Research from the Sanders campaign shows Sanders leading President Donald Trump by 8 points in Pennsylvania.
The poll of likely November 2020 general election voters has Sanders leading Trump 51% to 43%, while the data also shows strong support for a number of Sanders key policy proposals, including Medicare for All.
The Sanders campaign believes he is uniquely positioned to flip rustbelt states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin that voted for President Obama twice and went to Trump in 2016.
“I don’t think it’s any generic Democrat fits the mold here,” Ben Tulchin, Sanders pollster said to NBC News. “Trump is vulnerable here, but it has to be for the right kind of Democrat who has real strengths and can win these three states.”
Tulchin surveyed 400 likely November 2020 general election voters, collecting data via online panels that were matched to the voter file from April 14-18, 2019. The margin of error for the polling is +/- 4.9 percentage points.
The internal polling shows strong support for Sanders in a number of categories over Trump and attempts to paint a bleak picture for the sitting President in Pennsylvania.
President Trump holds a 41% job approval rating in this poll, while 57% disapprove of his job performance. Just 35% of those from Pennsylvania polled believe the country is heading in the right direction, while 58% believe the United States is on the wrong track.
The Independent Senator has mixed results in two groups of voters that he is trying to court in 2020. The polling shows Sanders beating Trump 48%-37% with Independent voters, while still trailing Trump with white voters without a college degree. The polling shows Sanders leading among this group of voters in Wisconsin and Michigan, but not Pennsylvania, although the memo states that he “does better with this cohort than Democrats did in 2016.”
The internal polling also shows widespread support for one of the cornerstones of Sanders campaign, Medicare for All. 61% polled showed “total support” for Medicare for All, while 32% fell under the “total oppose” category. This is the highest percentage of support among the three states polled, although the numbers went down by over 10 points after “attacks” were introduced to those surveyed. The “attacks” category was after two statements were read about Medicare for All, one showing what supporters believe and one statement of what opponents widely state. 50% still supported Medicare for All after being read both statements, while 32% opposed the proposed healthcare plan. Pennsylvania then fell to third out of three states after those surveyed were read both statements showing support and opposition to the plan.
The polling also boasted double digit leads for Sanders in the following categories over Trump in a head to head matchup, “Honest and trustworthy, brings people together, understands the struggles of ordinary Americans, is on the side of the middle class, independent of special interests, stands up to the wealthy and powerful, will make healthcare more affordable, will improve education and make college more affordable.”
This polling comes after a recent visit through Pennsylvania that included three stops, two of which were in counties that voted for President Obama twice then voted for Trump in 2016. Sanders participated in a Fox News town hall during this visit as well in Bethlehem.
A number of recent polls in Pennsylvania show Sanders in a distant second place in the Democratic primary behind former Vice President Joe Biden. An Emerson College poll conducted late last month shows Biden leading Sanders by nearly 20 points, although in a hypothetical 2020 matchup, Biden and Sanders both lead Trump by 10 points in Pennsylvania. A Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll conducted earlier this month shows Biden leading Sanders by 12 points in the Democratic primary.
The Real Clear Politics average shows Biden as the current favorite in the Democratic field, with Sanders in second place.
The Pennsylvania GOP shrugs off the polling, while boasting about Trump’s agenda.
“While internal polls like this might be nice for Sen. Sanders’ campaign donors, this poll is not based in reality,” said Jason Gottesman, PAGOP Communications Director. “While Bernie Sanders and his merry band of socialist cohorts in the 2020 field continue to try and buy votes with pie-in-the-sky promises and welcome the creep of socialism into our republic, President Donald Trump and Republican leadership has actually delivered record low unemployment, lower taxes, and an America that is respected again. Voters will realize that in November 2020.”
See the full internal polling data here.
This story was updated with a comment from the Pennsylvania GOP.