"On the eve of the first presidential debate, a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll shows a narrow gap between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump amid rising support for Trump within his own party....
In a four-way matchup, Clinton leads by 2 points, at 40 percent to Trump's 38 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson dropped to 8 percent — down from 14 percent a week ago — and Green Party nominee Jill Stein went from 5 to 3 percent.
Pennsylvania's competitive U.S. Senate race also shifted in the GOP's favor, with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey on top by 1 point, 41 percent to 40 percent for Democratic challenger Katie McGinty.
Both races are within the survey's margin of error, plus or minus 5 percentage points.
The latest survey, of 486 likely general election voters, was conducted Sept. 19-23, amid reports of bombs exploding in New York and New Jersey, as well as civil unrest in North Carolina after a black man was shot and killed by a [black] police officer. Trump discussed those events during his appearances last week.
Chris Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, which conducted the state poll, said the week's events likely contributed to the shifts in support among Republicans and among those in an age bracket that includes parents, who may be swayed by debate over public safety.
"Issues like terrorism and riots play to Donald Trump's narrative," Borick said."...
[Ed. note: Since "terrorism and riots" are continually happening, why aren't they everyone's "narrative?"]
(continuing): "The results also suggest some Republicans who had been uncertain about the party's controversial nominee are showing greater support for Trump.
"Partisans coming home to their nominee is an expected part of any campaign as you get into the closing days," said Chris Nicholas, a GOP consultant based in Harrisburg. "What's notable here is the very large shift and we're not close to the final days."
A demographic analysis showed a double-digit jump in Trump's support among Republicans after Trump underperformed with that group previously. This week, 85 percent of likely GOP voters said they'd choose him over Clinton, compared with 71 percent in the prior survey.
While Johnson had appeared to peel away some Republicans from Trump, that effect diminished this week, Borick said. Johnson fell by 6 points in the four-way matchup, while Trump gained by the same figure.
In traditionally Republican regions outside the southeast and southwest, Trump gained 9 points and Clinton dropped by 6 points. He also gained among voters between 30 and 49 years old; Trump rose by 10 percentage points to tie with Clinton at 42 percent.
The close margin reflects the emphasis both campaign have placed on Pennsylvania with increasingly frequent visits from the nominees and their surrogates. This week, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama are expected to campaign in Philadelphia on behalf of Clinton, while vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is scheduled to appear in York....
In the U.S. Senate race, which will help determine whether Republicans maintain control of the legislative chamber, Toomey's prospects rose alongside Trump's.
McGinty, who previously served as an environmental aide in state and federal administrations, saw her support drop by 3 points compared with the last survey, while Toomey's rose by the same tally.
Two in 10 voters, however, remain undecided as the Senate candidates and outside groups continue to flood state airwaves with attack ads....
Clinton still leads Trump in a head-to-head matchup, but only by a 3-point margin, 44 percent to 41 percent. Those results showed Clinton's support dropping and Trump's gaining compared with a Morning Call/Muhlenberg poll a week earlier, which showed Clinton at 47 percent and Trump at 38 percent."...