Pennsylvanians are split on Vice President Joe Biden, their Scranton-born son, making him roughly as popular as President Obama is here. 44% see Biden favorably and an equal proportion unfavorably. It is 46-37 with independents, slightly better than the president’s 47-41 approval spread with them.
Of four recent presidential candidates who were either born in or grew up in the state, Biden is overwhelmingly voters’ favorites. 42% like Biden best, with 25% picking former Sen. Rick Santorum, 14% Ron Paul, and 11% Newt Gingrich. Paul gets most of his strength from independents—Biden beats him out 39-30 with them. Santorum is tops with the GOP (46%), followed by Gingrich’s 22% and Paul’s 15%. Biden is Democrats’ pick (73%).
Pennsylvania voters like Biden’s hometown, with 37% seeing it favorably and 15% unfavorably, stronger numbers than for perhaps Scranton’s most recent famous product, the Dunder Mifflin paper company. The fictional setting of NBC’s “The Office” is not a known quantity to most voters. 74% have no opinion of it, while those who do break down 17-9 positively. The youth of the show’s audience bears out in the crosstabs: voters under 30 see the company in a good light (36-13), and its favor and notoriety go down from there, to 23-11 to 11-9 to 5-4 with successively older age brackets. Dunder Mifflin also does best with voters in the 570 area code which contains Scranton (27-11).
While Scranton is a popular city statewide, it is not voters’ favorite. That would be Pittsburgh, which has a 57-17 favorability margin. Of eight cities we asked about, the only one of which voters have a net negative opinion is by far its most populous, Philadelphia. Only 37% see it favorably and 42% unfavorably. Between the western and eastern bookends are Bethlehem (42-10), Erie (41-11), Scranton, Allentown (34-22), Reading (31-26), and Harrisburg (38-34).
Philly is seen very well by the people in the area codes surrounding it, but worse in areas further west. Pitt is seen well by every area of the state, particularly the western parts nearest it. Harrisburg is the only city disliked by its own area code and liked by others.
Philly has by far the biggest difference along racial lines of any of the cities. White voters fall similarly to the overall numbers (34-43), but African Americans really like Philly (61-29).
Partially because of this racial gap, Philadelphia is also the most polarizing along partisan lines. Democrats like it, but not as much as Republicans dislike it, and not as much as Democrats like Pittsburgh. Democrats fall at 47-30 on Philly, while Republicans fall at 26-55 and independents at 38-40. For Pitt, voters of all stripes like it: Democrats (64-13), Republicans (48-26), and independents most of all (65-6). Probably because it is the capital, voters are also a little split on Harrisburg politically. Democrats (41-32) and independents (36-29) aren't that thrilled about it, but Republicans slightly dislike it (35-37).
Full results here