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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

ERIE, Pa. — A small group of voters we spoke to here, who had switched from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, are sticking with Trump in 2020 — unlike other swing voters who are getting tired of him.

Why it matters: Their loyalty is a wakeup call to all 2020 Democrats, but especially Joe Biden, since he's banking heavily on his ability to win the state.

  • That was the main takeaway from the latest Engagious/FPG focus group I watched here last week, which included eight Obama/Trump voters.

The big picture: Pennsylvania was crucial to Trump's victory in 2016, and it's a key state Democrats are hoping to win back in 2020. These swing voters show the importance of Democratic candidates breaking through in rural areas like Erie if they want to replace Trump.

What they're saying:

  • Tara Biddle, a 37-year-old kindergarten teacher, said although she's not completely happy with Trump, she'd only switch candidates if they picked up where he left off.
  • "I would be willing to vote for someone other than Trump who would continue the initiatives he's started" with the economy, tariffs and immigration, she said.
  • Others said Trump should be able to serve two full terms. "When I changed my vote I gave him eight years," said 62-year-old David R.
  • “He’s the best looking food on the buffet right now," said 28-year-old Matt G. about Trump compared to all the Democrats running for president.

They didn't offer much criticism. One man, 52-year-old Tim G., offered: "The only thing I would say, I'd like someone to get his Twitter account away."

  • The rest of the group agreed, but no one was ready to dump Trump.
  • They're not disappointed that he hasn't accomplished more: “The swamp might’ve been a little tougher than he thought it was,” said Vince K.
  • And their reaction to the Mueller report and the congressional investigations? A big yawn.
  • “You could investigate every president; they’re all shady," said Jessica G. "Let’s just move on and let him do his job.”

Between the lines: These swing voters offered words like "assertive," "negotiator," "powerful," and "Christian" when asked for the most important characteristics they're looking for in a leader.

  • Those are also things many of them said describe Trump.

The bottom line: Trump won Erie by less than 1 percentage point, but some of his most crucial supporters aren't giving up on him yet — so don't count him out to win Pennsylvania again.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This piece was clarified to emphasize the size of the focus group.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

North Carolina police pepper-spray protesters marching to the polls

Officers in North Carolina used pepper spray on protesters and arrested eight people at a get-out-the-vote rally at Alamance County’s courthouse Saturday during the final day of early voting, the City of Graham Police Department confirmed.

Driving the news: The peaceful "I Am Change" march to the polls was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, from the Citadel Church in Greensboro, N.C., and included a minute's silence for George Floyd. Melanie Mitchell told the News & Observer her daughters, age 5 and 11, were among those pepper-sprayed by police soon after.

6 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.