Trump has a good rating on crime in Pennsylvania, even in Biden strongholds

Former President Donald Trump may be on trial right now, but Pennsylvania voters still trust him more to deal with crime.

That’s according to a Philadelphia Inquirer/New York Times/Siena College poll that shows about half of Pennsylvania voters think crime is a major problem in the state and that the electorate favors Trump over President Joe Biden on this issue.

When asked whether they trusted Trump or Biden to handle crime better – regardless of who they voted for – 51% of respondents said Trump compared to 42% who said Biden. The survey was conducted between April 28 and May 7.

Trump is doing well on this issue even in some of the state’s deep blue enclaves. For example, while Biden leads Trump by 13 percentage points in voter-rich Philadelphia suburbs, the candidates’ polling among those same voters is 46% when asked who can handle crime better.

The results come as crime has ebbed and flowed as a political issue over the past few years. Violent crimes and shootings increased across the country in 2020, but have been degenerating overall for more than a year. In Philadelphia, where public safety was the top issue in last year’s mayoral election, shootings and homicides are much lower this year than last.

Locally, Democrats are trying to respond to right-wing accusations that the party is delicate on this issue by distancing themselves from calls to cut police funding and speaking openly about improving public safety. But Republicans continue to bash Democrats on this issue and try to portray progressives as being supple on crime.

Wayne DeCaria, a registered independent citizen of Springfield, Delaware County, who voted for Trump in 2020, said he intends to vote for him again this year, citing crime as his main reason.

“One of the biggest problems is the crime rate in many major cities in America,” DeCaria, 22, said. “Much of the support and aid goes to countries other than America, even though America has some problems to deal with.”

Here are three other findings from the survey:

Philadelphia residents definitely feel the least unthreatening.

Philadelphia voters were much more likely than other Pennsylvanians to say crime was the top problem in the state, with 73% of voters saying so. That compared to 54% of voters in suburban Philadelphia.

The difference became even more stark when voters were asked how they would describe crime in their neighborhood. Seventy-two percent of Philadelphia voters said this was a sedate problem.

The city was a significant outlier in this respect. No other place came close to this number; the second largest number was 16% of voters in the Lehigh Valley and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Voters across the state were significantly more likely to say they were confident their own community would be “relatively safe in the future” compared to voters in the city.

Statewide, 34% of voters said they were very confident, compared with 17% of Philadelphia voters who said the same. Forty percent of Philadelphia voters say they are unsure whether they will be unthreatening, more than twice the statewide rate.

Three groups of voters are more likely to see crime as a problem

  1. Older voters: Thirty-five percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said it was a sedate problem, compared with 58% of respondents 65 and older.

  2. Non-white voters: Statewide, 65% of non-white voters said crime was their main problem, compared to 47% of white voters. The poll’s nonwhite category includes Black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Middle Eastern or North African, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander voters.

  3. Trump voters: About two-thirds of people who indicated they were likely to vote for Trump when directly interviewed by Biden were more likely to see crime as a top problem, while just 30% of likely Biden voters said the same.

It’s unclear whether crime is driving votes

A majority of Pennsylvania voters see crime as a problem. Just over half of respondents said it was a major problem in the state, and an additional 41% said it was a minor problem. Only 4% of voters said crime was not a problem statewide.

Some of it may be perception. When asked whether crime was a problem in their area, the picture changed: just 19% said it was a sedate problem, while a third of voters said it was not a problem at all in their area.

It is unclear whether this issue motivates voters in the presidential race. This clearly motivated voters in last year’s local elections, but when voters were asked in November about the most vital issue in their decision to vote, only 1% voluntarily raised this issue.

Inquirer writers Aseem Shukla and Camille Baker of the New York Times contributed to this article.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Latest Posts