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In Johnstown, Trump predicts victory in Pa. against the polling odds — just like 2016


Bruce Siwy  |  York Daily Record
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JOHNSTOWN — Rallying supporters in Pennsylvania’s Cambria County on Oct. 21 of 2016, Donald Trump told the crowd to expect an upset.

“Wait until you see the results on (Election Day) Nov. 8 (2016),” he said at the time. “People are going to say, ‘Wow, that’s really surprising.’”

On Tuesday — nearly four years later to the day — Trump had a similar message for his base at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport: Don’t trust the polls.

“Twenty-one days from now, we are going to win the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we are going to win four more years in the White House,” he told thousands of supporters. “This election is a simple choice. If Biden wins, China wins . . . and we get ripped off again by everybody.”

Not unlike 2016, Trump's odds appear to be long. A poll conducted Oct. 6-9 by ABC News/Washington Post shows Joe Biden having a 53%-41% lead among registered voters across America. The recent results of RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight polling have Biden with a similar lead of 9.8 and 10.3 points, respectively.

If Trump manages to win a second term, it may be because of the enthusiasm of his voters: The president leads Biden by 15 points in this category. Approximately 75% of Trump supporters told ABC News/Washington Post they were very enthusiastic about the president, versus 60% of Biden supporters who said they were very enthusiastic.

Some of that enthusiasm was on display at Johnstown’s regional airport Tuesday, as the president’s remarks on topics such as bias in media, increasing fracking and ending Gov. Tom Wolf's pandemic-related restrictions launched thousands into ovation.

Less than two weeks from his own COVID-19 diagnosis, the president spoke for more than an hour and promised progress against the pandemic.

More: Trump men vs. Biden women: Which voting group in Pa. will pick the next president?

“We will have 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year,” he said. “And the vaccine will end the pandemic once and for all.”

Facing voter registration deficits in major cities in battleground states across the country, Trump continues to tap into the economic anxiety of disenfranchised Rust Belt communities. He said his policies have helped secure the Mexican border, bolstered law enforcement and protected American jobs.

“We brought back steel,” Trump said. “We put tariffs on steel.”

The president's speech was prefaced by comments from U.S. Reps. John Joyce and Glenn “GT” Thompson. The crowd reacted most strongly to Thompson's call to “fire” U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

More: Purple haze Pa.: Why the Keystone State is always a presidential battleground

Throughout his remarks, the incumbent continued to project himself as a political outsider while characterizing Biden as a candidate beholden to his party and to special interests. He repeatedly cited Biden's support for the NAFTA trade deal as evidence.

Beset by an impeachment, racial division and an economy reeling amid the pandemic, Trump projected a positive attitude, pledging a woman on the moon and a man on Mars.

And he made it clear that he's counting on the commonwealth to carry him to yet another upset.

“So get your friends . . . get your family, get your neighbors, and get out and vote,” he said.

“We stand on the shoulders of Pennsylvania patriots who gave their blood, sweat and tears for this beloved nation.”