Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Center for Politics & Public Affairs

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Pennsylvania Presidential Election: 1996-2000

A Second Look, November 2000

Last month we examined the Gore/Bush presidential contest in the context of Clinton's 1996 presidential victory in Pennsylvania.  That analysis can be read at  Pennsylvania Presidential Election: Comparing 1996 to 2000.  When the comparison between Gore's showing in the October 2 Keystone Poll was made with President Clinton's victory in 1996, Gore had a solid 13 percentage point lead in the state, and his pattern of support was very similar to Clinton's pattern in 1996.  In addition, the October 31 Keystone Poll, with Bush at 43 and Gore at 42 percent, shows a remarkable Bush turnaround in the state, and either candidate now can win Pennsylvania's 23 electoral votes.  The October 31 Keystone Poll, however, shows some remarkable demographic and attitudinal changes from the October 2 Keystone Poll.  Here are just a few of the highlights:

 

  • Gore's support among men has slipped considerably between the October 2 and the October 31 Keystone Polls.

  • Gore continues to win among women, but his support is not nearly as strong as it was, and his support among single women has dropped even more sharply.

  • Gore's support among voters whose family incomes range between $30,000-50,000 per year has declined.

  • Gore's support among Catholics has also declined and he now divides the Catholic vote almost evenly with Bush.

  • Perhaps the most dramatic difference in vote support between the October 2 and October 31 polls occurred in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where Gore once led handily but now trails Bush.

PENNSYLVANIA KEY DEMOGRAPHIC CATEGORIES

. 1996
VNS Exit Poll
Clinton/Dole
October 2, 2000
Keystone Poll
Gore/Bush
October 31, 2000
Keystone Poll
Gore/Bush
% % %   % %   %
Gender . . .
Men 47-42 43-44 39-48
Women 53-37 53-31 45-38
Single Women 60-30 48-34 49-29
Race . . .
White 46-43 47-38 39-47
Black 88-9 83-13 80-5
Income . . .
30-50K 49-39 53-34 40-44
Age . . .
45-59 53-36 47-36 39-43
Over 65 48-46 43-40 42-42
Party . . .
Democrat 80-13 75-13 72-18
Republican 17-74 20-64 15-72
Religion . . .
Protestant 43-49 40-45 34-52
Catholic 53-36 53-34 43-43

PENNSYLVANIA KEY REGIONAL CATEGORIES


. 1996
Actual Vote
Clinton/Dole
October 2, 2000
Keystone Poll
Gore/Bush
October 31, 2000
Keystone Poll
Gore/Bush
. %   % %   % %   %
Philadelphia County 77-16 76-14 76-9
Southeast 47-42 45-36 51-33
Northeast 48-40 56-36 47-36
Central 38-51 39-42 28-57
Allegheny County 53-38 50-43 54-36
Southwest 49-38 51-24 31-48
Northwest 45-43 49-45 31-58

Note:  The polling numbers extracted from both Keystone Polls are based on relatively small cell size; Nevertheless, we use them in this analysis to illustrate a general pattern.

By:

G. Terry Madonna, Director
Center for Politics & Public Affairs
Millersville University

Berwood Yost, Director
Center for Opinion Research
Millersville University