July 26, 2022

New York Post: Skid from Scranton: Joe Biden’s popularity takes a hit in his hometown

President Biden’s popularity is slipping even in his childhood hometown of Scranton, according to new polling data shared with The Post — suggesting he may have a difficult time in swing-state Pennsylvania if he seeks reelection.

Biden’s favorability in Lackawanna County, which includes Scranton, slid from 60% in July 2020 to 47% as of late June amid the worst inflation since 1981.

The share of respondents saying that they view Biden “very” unfavorably increased from 28% to 46% in the county.

“All credibility that Joe Biden had locally with Scranton being his ‘hometown’ has evaporated as he has consistently abandoned the hardworking men and women of Northeast Pennsylvania,” said Republican congressional candidate Jim Bognet, who commissioned the latest survey.

Bognet narrowly lost a 2020 bid against Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) when the state broke by just 80,555 votes for Biden out of nearly 7 million cast. The 8th Congressional District race is one of the top GOP pickup opportunities in November.

“If Joe Biden and the Democrats can’t keep the support of voters in Joe Biden’s own ‘hometown’ I can’t imagine how bad it must be for them in the rest of the country as well,” Bognet said. “November is coming and we’re going to flip Joe Biden’s ‘home’ district and his ‘hometown’ along the way.”

Biden, who often calls himself the “kid from Scranton” in speeches, was born and raised there until he was 10 years old. His link to the blue-collar region was a key part of his political branding during the 2020 election, in which he won the Electoral College by reversing Donald Trump’s surprise 2016 wins in rust-belt Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Biden’s standing in Scranton looks even worse when looking at the “swing” of his favorability, or the cumulative change, which went from a net 22% favorability last year to a -5% deficit, or a swing of 27%.

Next-door and more populous Luzerne County saw a similar polling swing, according to the results shared by Bognet’s campaign — with Biden going from 48% to 39% favorability and from 49% to 59% unfavorable — with 39% to 56% growth in people viewing him very unfavorably.

The latest poll was conducted June 23 – 25, 2022, by polling firm Cygnal, which has a B+ rating for accuracy from poll-focused website FiveThirtyEight. It polled 400 likely voters and has a margin of error of ±4.70%. The results were compared against a poll conducted July 18-21, 2020, for Bognet by the Tarrance Group, which also has a B+ rating.

A polling memo prepared by Bognet’s campaign notes a similar decline in generic party preference in the polling data and says Biden “has dragged the entire Democratic Party down with him as the generic ballot has swung 9-points towards the GOP.”

Biden, who says he will run again in 2024, carried Lackawanna County by nearly 10,000 votes, while Trump, who says he’s weighing a rematch against Biden in two years, won Luzerne County, which includes Wilkes-Barre, by more than 22,000 votes.

The White House and Cartwright’s campaign did not immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment.

The data were shared with The Post last week ahead of Biden’s scheduled Thursday visit to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, where he was set to speak about gun crime and meet with some of his cousins who still live nearby. Biden had to cancel the trip after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday morning.

Biden has experienced a broad national collapse in his approval rating. Recent national polls show Biden’s approval rating as low as 33% — averaging 37.4%, according to RealClearPolitics, with Biden’s support among core Democratic-leaning groups, such as young people and Hispanics, also plunging.

Biden’s “honeymoon” period of relatively favorable polling ended in August 2021 with the chaotic US pullout from Afghanistan. Since then, a series of crises, including higher gas prices and soaring inflation, drove his polling support even lower.

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