In an election held during a pandemic, partisan voters in two key battlefields continue to split over voting by mail against in person. In Pennsylvania, where more than 2 million people have asked for ballots by mail, most Democrats say they will vote by mail, while Republicans overwhelmingly say they will vote in person. And in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, President Trump is the candidate of choice among those who intend to vote in person, while Joe Biden is the overwhelming preference among those who intend to vote by mail. This survey was completed before the president’s hospitalization on Friday.
Overall, voter preferences in these two important states remain those of this summer. Voters in Ohio show a uniform preference between Trump and Biden, and Pennsylvania voters continue to give Biden a seven-point lead over Mr. Trump.
Voters in both states also seem largely determined now and say they have solidified their support. More now this summer they say they are strongly behind their pick, particularly those for Biden in Pennsylvania.
Most of those who intend to vote in person say they expect the process to be very easy to vote this year and most of those who intend to vote by post expect it to be a little, if not very, easy. But opinions are conflicting only among all partisans as to whether the ballots will be accurately recorded and counted. Less than half are “very” confident in this count, and nearly as many are “a little” confident.
While many of those who vote in person say they are willing to wait long enough to cast their vote, a significant percentage are not. In Pennsylvania, 33% of Biden’s voters and 37% of Trump’s voters say they wouldn’t be willing to wait more than an hour. If polling stations were to be more limited in November, those could be important numbers to remember.
The first presidential debate does not appear to have substantially shifted the contests in these states since the summer, perhaps unsurprising since so many voters have been blocked.
But more voters in these states describe Biden as having the right temperament than describe Mr. Trump in this way. However, for some of the president’s supporters, this quality may not be related to their vote. In Pennsylvania, many Republicans who do not describe the president in this way endorse him on Biden by a large margin.
Managing the economy continues to be a boon to the president, particularly in Ohio. More voters see him as more capable than Biden of handling it and as the candidate who would do more to protect manufacturing jobs.
Voters in both states have broadly positive views on their state’s efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, particularly in Ohio, where the positive rating rose from 54% in July to 69% today. Despite this improvement, the president gets more blame than credit when it comes to his administration’s coronavirus policies.
The economy continues to be the main factor in voters’ minds, but other issues are also important factors, including health care and the coronavirus. Six out of 10 Ohio voters say the coronavirus outbreak continues to be a major factor in their vote (unchanged since July) and two-thirds of Ohio voters continue to express at least some concern that they or someone in their family will contract. the virus, including half of Republicans.
Compared to the summer, Biden has gained opinions on him personally. Most voters in both states now say they appreciate the way Biden personally behaves., most in Ohio not, and voters were more divided in Pennsylvania . Mr. Trump is still mostly negative about this measure, with about two-thirds of voters in both states saying they don’t like the way they handle themselves.
Support from women, especially college graduates, strengthens Biden in Pennsylvania and keeps him competitive in Ohio. White voters with no college degrees continue to support the president in large numbers, and it is also the preference of male voters in both states.
These polls were conducted on behalf of CBS News by YouGov between September 30 and October 2, 2020. They are based on representative samples of 1,128 registered voters in Ohio and 1,202 in Pennsylvania. The margins of error for registered voters are ± 3.7 points in Ohio and ± 3.1 points in Pennsylvania.