“I was wrong. Boy was I wrong,” said Bortz, who is white. Her change of heart is due to the “lies,” the “division” and Trump’s attacks on veterans. And she said there are friends and neighbors just like her — Democrats who voted Republican in 2016 but are now flipping back.
“We were joking about forming a group, like the, ‘We’re so sorry, group,’” she said.
Bortz isn’t alone: Women in Pennsylvania and across the country are leaving Trump behind, including the white women who helped power his victory four years ago, according to polling in key states. White women with college degrees in Pennsylvania are especially done with him, rejecting him at even higher rates than they did in 2016. And while Trump is still winning white women without college degrees in the state, he’s doing so by a much smaller margin than in 2016.
In a place like Pennsylvania — a state Trump won by only 44,000 votes in 2016 and which is now widely considered the tipping-point state in the Electoral College — those margins matter. Joe Biden is beating Trump by a polling average of 6.7 points in the state, according to FiveThirtyEight. And white women are a major part of the reason.
Aware of the threat to his reelection bid with 15 days to go, Trump made a direct appeal to women in Pennsylvania last week, baffled by their apparent aversion to him.
“Suburban women, will you please like me?” Trump bellowed into a crowd in Johnstown, a small city east of Pittsburgh on Tuesday. “Please. I saved your damn neighborhood, okay?”
But white suburban women aren’t answering Trump’s plea. In 2016, Trump won white women in the state by 50 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 47 percent, according to exit polls. Now, Biden is ahead by as much as 23 points with white women, according to a Quinnipiac survey from earlier this month. A Washington Post/ABC poll of Pennsylvania voters in September showed a similar lead, with white women preferring Biden by 13 points. Among suburban women overall, he’s ahead by 18 points.
In a Monmouth poll from late September to October, Biden led among Pennsylvania women overall by 26 points — and the large spread is also due Biden’s overwhelming support among Black and brown women. Across polls when women are asked whom they trust more to handle the coronavirus pandemic, they also pick Biden, in most cases by double digits.
The numbers present a serious dilemma for Trump. Trump’s campaign has tried to grow his margins with Black and Latino men, but there are only so many of those voters in the majority-white Pennsylvania — and most favor his opponent.
It leaves the president with two options: Either find a way to ramp up turnout among working-class white voters in the state, specifically white men. Or turn things around with the white women who helped propel him to the White House four years ago. In interviews with voters and party officials throughout the state, however, it’s clear the…
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