New census data analysis suggests Pennsylvania advantage for Trump and GOP in 2024


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Recent migration out of Pennsylvania and between its counties could present an even closer 2024 matchup between President Biden and former President Trump in the critical battleground state than in 2020, an analysis of new census data shows. 

“Uneven patterns of in-and out-migration could work to make what was a closely contested 2020 presidential campaign even closer in 2024,” penned Berwood Yost, director of Floyd Institute’s Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College.

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In the 2020 presidential election, Biden defeated Trump by under 100,000 votes, winning the state 50% to 48.8%. 

President Biden and former President Trump (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Going into 2024, the Keystone State is expected to play a similarly pivotal role, especially given its high percentage of manufacturing workers – a demographic that both campaigns have made a point of lobbying in the early months of the election year. 

Since 2020, when the last census was taken, Yost noted that census data released earlier this month showed counties won by Trump had a net gain in populace of about 4,500 people. As for Biden-won counties, they posted a combined loss of more than 45,000 people.

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Overall, Pennsylvania saw its population decline since 2020, with a Census Bureau press release even highlighting Philadelphia County as one of the largest declining counties in the U.S. 

Philadelphia skyline

The Philadelphia skyline on Jan. 28, 2023. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

“The biggest losses at the county level were in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and Philadelphia. And those are two of the big centers of Biden’s support,” Yost told Fox News Digital in an interview.  

“And so does that affect his ability to win by large margins in those counties? That’s a real issue,” he said. 

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In an exclusive statement to Fox News Digital, Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said, “With just 35 percent job approval, Joe Biden is floundering in his home state of Pennsylvania. Between higher gas prices, surging crime, and failed Democrat policies crushing families at every corner, it’s no wonder that Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth are increasingly rejecting the failed Biden agenda and supporting President Trump.”

Donald Trump in Pennsylvania

Former President Trump enters Erie Insurance Arena for a political rally on July 29, 2023, in Erie, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Yost stressed he can’t say for sure whether the migration patterns both in and out of state will be detrimental for Biden, but he explained that there’s certainly the potential that it could be, especially with the competition expected to be close. 

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The director pointed out that those leaving the Philadelphia area are “most likely to end up in the suburbs around Philly,” which are similarly Democratic-leaning. However, those leaving Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County are “moving out into places that voted heavily for Trump.”

“Do they take their voting habits with them?” he posed. 

Joe Biden in Pennsylvania

In new polling this month, Biden’s approval rating fell to 36%, while 61% disapproved of his job as president. (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Was it for jobs? Was it for cheaper housing? Who knows?” Yost continued. 

He further referenced Biden’s near-record low approval rating, which “alone” could present an obstacle to re-election, per Yost. “The population changes that have happened in the state since 2020 do nothing to make this challenge less difficult,” he wrote. 

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In new polling this month, Biden’s approval rating fell to 36%, while 61% disapproved of his job as president. 

According to the latest Fox News poll, Trump and Biden are in a practical dead heat in Pennsylvania. Among all votes, 49% opted for Trump and 47% for Biden, which is notably within the survey’s margin of error. 

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.



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