Campaigns & Elections

New poll shows Trump, Casey with slight leads in PA

A new Pennsylvania survey offers a glimpse into races for president, U.S. Senate and attorney general.

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. Wikimedia Commons

A new poll from AARP Pennsylvania surveying more than 1,300 likely voters in the state shows former president and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump with a slight lead over President Joe Biden, with Trump leading by 4 points in the state in a head-to-head rematch with his 2020 general election opponent.

But while the survey showed Trump with a lead at the top of the ticket, it also had U.S. Sen. Bob Casey leading in the state’s race for U.S. Senate, which pits Casey, a Democrat, against Republican challenger Dave McCormick. 

Respondents also weighed in on the state’s race for attorney general, with Republican Dave Sunday and Democrat Eugene DePasquale virtually deadlocked early on in the race.

Below, City & State examines some of the top findings from AARP Pennsylvania’s poll on the 2024 general election. The survey, which spanned from April 24-30, was conducted by pollsters at Fabrizio Ward, which conducted polling for Trump in the 2016 and 2020 election cycles, and Impact Research, which has done work for several Democratic presidential campaigns. 

Trump vs. Biden Part II

Biden and Trump are poised to face off again this fall, and according to the 1,398 voters surveyed, Trump has a slight edge over the incumbent president. In a head-to-head matchup with Biden in 2024, the poll showed Trump with a 49% to 45% lead. When factoring in Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Chase Oliver, Trump led Biden 46% to 41%.

Speaking about the poll on a virtual press call on Tuesday, Bob Ward, a partner at opinion research firm Fabrizio Ward, said voters above the age of 50 will be a group to watch heading into the general election. 

“I think the interesting point about the presidential race is, when we look at the voters who are going to show up – voters 50-plus – who will definitely be there on election day, the race is a bit different. We have Trump with a wider lead, leading 10 points on the head-to-head, but voters 50-plus are not a monolith,” said Ward. “If we look at the sections of voters within that group, the 50-to-64-year-old lead for Trump is actually much higher, but the lead among seniors – voters 65-plus – is quite competitive.”

The poll did not factor in the presence of independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in the presidential race. 

Casey leads in U.S. Senate survey

As he seeks reelection to another term in the U.S. Senate, Casey appears to have a slight lead over McCormick in AARP’s new poll.

According to the survey, Casey leads McCormick 48% to 44%, though McCormick, a former hedge fund executive who ran for Senate in 2022, leads Casey among voters ages 50 and older. Among voters 50 and older, McCormick has support from 48% of voters, compared to 47% for Casey. 

Ward noted that the Senate race looks especially competitive when it comes to voters over 50. 

“If we look at voters 50-plus, McCormick has a one-point lead, so it’s very competitive there,” he said. “If we look at 50-to-64-year-old voters, McCormick has an eight-point lead, but if we look at seniors, Casey has a seven-point lead. So there’s a lot at play here, particularly among the voters who are going to show up – those who are 50-plus.”

AG race ‘toss-up’ between Sunday, DePasquale

There hasn’t been much polling on Pennsylvania’s attorney general race to date, but with the general election matchup now set, AARP’s poll offers a glimpse into how voters feel following the primary election cycle. 

The survey shows York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, who is the GOP nominee, with a one-point lead over Democrat Eugene DePasquale, a former state representative and state auditor general. Sunday appears to have an early advantage with voters over 50, leading DePasquale 49% to 41% among voters who are 50 and older.

As it currently stands, Ward said the AG race could go either way. “We have the Republican leading by a point,” he said. “This is essentially a toss-up.”

Issues of importance

Both Ward and Jeff Liszt, the latter of whom is a partner at Impact Research, stressed that not only will older voters be motivated to vote in November, but that they will vote with key issues in mind. 

Of those surveyed, 79% of voters ages 50 and older said Social Security would be a key issue for them in November, and another 73% also listed Medicare as another important issue. 

Ward pointed out that 56% of voters ages 50 and older listed personal economic issues – a term that includes inflation, the economy and jobs, as well as Social Security – as the most important factor determining their vote. 

“I think particularly as we look at that voter bloc of 65 years and older, if you’re not talking about Social Security, you’re not talking to these voters on the issues that are most important to them,” he said.

Liszt concurred, and added that voters above 50 are also more likely to be family caregivers, who in turn are more likely to support candidates who support more resources for family caregivers. 

“When you’re talking about these family caregivers, over 40% of these family caregivers are spending more than 20 hours a week caring for a loved one, which is why it’s such an important issue for them,” Liszt said. “That’s why more than three-quarters of voters 50-plus say that they will reward candidates who provide more support for family caregivers.”