Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Center for Politics & Public Affairs

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Pennsylvania Presidential Elections: 1996-2000

October 2000

The 2000 presidential election in Pennsylvania is beginning to look very much like the 1996 election.  An examination of key demographic groups and the patterns of regional voting indicate that, as of the early October 2000 Keystone Poll, Al Gore's support is similar to the coalition forged by Bill Clinton in 1996.

DEMOGRAPHICS

  • Clinton clearly won women voters 53-57 percent, and Gore leads 53-31 percent. Clinton swept single women voters, 60-30 percent, while Gore leads 48-34 percent.

  • Voters whose income ranges between $30,000 and $50,000, many of whom are high school graduates or less, are considered an important swing voting block.  Clinton carried this income cohort, 49-39 percent, while Gore maintains a 53-34 edge.

  • Senior citizens divide their votes this year about the way they did in 1996.  Clinton and Dole split the vote in 1996, 48-46 percent. Gore and Bush are close at 43-40 percent.

  • About one-third of the electorate in Pennsylvania is Catholic, many of whom are swing voters.  Clinton carried the Catholic vote, 53-36 percent, and Gore does the same, 53-34 percent.

PENNSYLVANIA KEY DEMOGRAPHIC CATEGORIES


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

 

REGIONS

  • Clinton's biggest vote advantage came from his smashing victory in Philadelphia, 77-16 percent.  Gore is replicating that accomplishment, 76-14 percent.

  • The Philadelphia suburbs were won by Clinton 47-42 percent, and Gore leads there by 45-36 percent.

  • As expected, Clinton held Allegheny (Pittsburgh) and the southwestern counties, 53-38 percent and 49-38 percent, respectively.  Gore, at the beginning of October, leads there 50-43 percent and 51-24 percent, respectively.

  • Except for the central region, the Gore strength approximates the Clinton victory in the northeast and the northwest.

PENNSYLVANIA KEY REGIONAL CATEGORIES

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

Note:  The polling numbers extracted from the October 2000 Keystone Poll 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