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Pennsylvania working-class voters leaning towards Trump, feel Biden is trying to ‘undercut’ fossil fuel jobs

Some Pennsylvania voters are leaning towards former President Trump as the election gets closer, citing economic woes and the state’s fracking boom. 

The Wall Street Journal spoke to John Sabo and Josh Thieler, who both grew up around Pittsburgh, in areas where roughly 200,000 steel and manufacturing jobs vanished over their lifetimes. They have both changed their political party affiliation. 

Sabo told the outlet his family was mostly “Blue Dogs,” a group of moderate, centrist Democrats. 

“The Blue Dog Democrat has the same exact feelings and thoughts as back then, but now they’re voting red,” he said. Thieler, according to the WSJ, is now a part of his town’s “Democratic professional class,” as he’s the manager for a software company. 

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Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Some PA voters are leaning towards Trump over President Biden over energy issues. (Left: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Right: (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Biden’s Pennsylvania victory in 2020 relied on professional workers like Thieler; the state pushed him over the top and was part of the “Blue Wall” of states that Trump had turned red in 2016 to defeat Hillary Clinton. However, working-class voters, such as Sabo, who works in the natural gas industry, see the president as being hostile to fracking with his energy policies and take issue with his electric vehicle push. 

The working class, blue collar group of voters is leaning more towards Trump as a result, the WSJ reported. Biden said during his 2020 campaign his administration would not ban fracking. 

“Biden has been particularly hurt by his decision to cancel the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which local companies say cut into demand for their services; and his order this year to pause new permits to export liquefied natural gas, which could deprive drillers of new markets. Many of these voters also believe the president’s push for Americans to adopt electric vehicles will undercut jobs tied to fossil fuels,” the report reads.

Sabo, a former Democrat, has backed Trump in the last two elections, and said, “I will never vote Democrat again.” Thieler voted Republican as recently as 2012, but said he felt he was wrong about everything when the 2016 election rolled around. 

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President Biden U.S. oil policy

The Wall Street Journal reported that some working-class voters in Pennsylvania believe Biden administration policies “will undercut jobs tied to fossil fuels.” (Getty Images/Photo illustration / Fox News)

The Pittsburgh area relies heavily on energy jobs, which could be a bad sign for the president. 

“Everyone here is aware that it’s better for oil and gas if Republicans get elected,” Adam Kress, who works with Sabo about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, said. The last two elections in Pennsylvania have been extremely close; Trump won by 44,000 votes in 2016, while Biden won by 81,000 in 2020.

Kress told the WSJ that he believes Republican policies have positively affected the gas industry. 

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According to a Fox News poll released in March, Trump (49%) has a narrow edge over Biden (47%) among Pennsylvania registered voters. That 2-point difference is within the poll’s margin of error.

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