As the clock ticks down to the 2024 election, a new Muhlenberg College poll has former President Donald Trump with a narrow three-point edge over President Joe Biden, 44 to 41 percent. But the poll found that if independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is on the ballot, he takes 18 percent of the vote, leaving Trump and Biden tied at 35 percent.

The same poll of 417 registered voters conducted between April 15 and 25 shows three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) at 45 percent to Republican challenger Dave McCormick’s 41 percent.

The poll is the second within the past month to show McCormick is closing the gap against Casey, after Emerson College’s April survey found Casey’s lead had narrowed to just four points.

Political observers say both Biden and Trump are well-known to the public and it’s unlikely that many voters will shift their views in the remaining six months until November.

“I imagine we will see little ebbs and flows between Biden and Trump’s poll numbers over the next six months, but I would be surprised by any major shifts given how cemented the candidates are in most voters’ minds. Just like 2016 and 2020, the race in Pennsylvania is likely to be very close,” said Muhlenberg political science Professor Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

Quantum Communications CEO Charlie Gerow said, “This poll confirms that Donald Trump leads in Pennsylvania by an increasingly significant margin. That’s not surprising. The Biden economy is hurting ordinary Pennsylvanians, and they are going to vote against him in November.”

“Biden’s approval ratings continue to sink as Americans and Pennsylvanians in particular see someone who simply doesn’t have the capacity to lead,’ Gerow added.

The poll also found that Biden’s 2024 campaign to win Pennsylvania, a key swing state, is being undermined by poor job approval ratings (35 percent). And, only 33 percent of voters believe that Biden deserves a second term.

However, Biden and Trump both must contend with high unfavorable ratings among Pennsylvania voters. Some 57 percent disapprove of Biden and 55 percent hold similar negative views of Trump.

“The Presidential race will have an impact on the Senate race in terms of keeping the Senate votes fairly close to the presidential results, but by no means determine the winner. There is room for both Casey and McCormick to build enough separation from their presidential candidates that they can find a path to victory even if their party loses the presidential race,” Borick said. “A significant portion of voters either haven’t heard of McCormick, or have no opinion about him, so both his and Casey’s campaign will be active in defining him for that audience.”

Gerow said, “The poll also shows that Dave McCormick has an excellent shot at defeating Bob Casey. Casey’s lackluster record will be contrasted by McCormick’s service in the military,  as a job creator and as someone who has accomplished a great deal.”

“Bob Casey has spent his entire adult life in politics pushing the Democrat party line while his family got rich off his Senate office—that’s why he’s in the race of his life against Dave McCormick. Pennsylvanians need a senator who will put them first, not a career politician like Bob Casey,” said National Republican Senate Committee Spokesman Philip Letsou.

An election survey of Pennsylvania voters ages 50 and older conducted by Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research on behalf of AARP was also released this week. Not surprisingly, those voters are concerned about Social Security, Medicare and the cost of prescription medications.

In the 2020 elections, older voters accounted for 55 percent of all Pennsylvania voters and in the 2022 mid-terms, they comprised 62 percent of the state’s voters. Eighty-five percent of voters ages 50 and older say they are “extremely motivated” to vote in this election.

Among these older voters, Trump leads Biden by 52 percent to 42 percent. Casey leads McCormick 48 percent to 44 percent.

Elizabeth Gregory, a spokeswoman for McCormick, said, “Pennsylvanians from across the commonwealth are joining Dave’s movement to send a 7th-generation Pennsylvanian, combat veteran, and PA job creator to the Senate to deliver new leadership and fresh ideas. From day one of this campaign, Dave has been laser-focused on uniting the party and training our fire on career politician Bob Casey, who has voted for Joe Biden’s failing agenda 98 percent of the time, fueling a border crisis that has killed over 4,000 Pennsylvanians from fentanyl, violent crime, record inflation and regulations that are killing the commonwealth’s energy sector. On November 5, Pennsylvania will retire empty suit Bob Casey and send Dave McCormick to the Senate.”

The Casey campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or