Trump’s been worried for months that Joe from Scranton might pose a threat to him in Pennsylvania and the Rust Belt that other Dems can’t match. His fears turn out to be well-founded, per Quinnipiac.

It’s not too late to replace Trump/Pence with Haley/Pence!

Quinnipiac polled five other candidates head-to-head with Trump in PA: Sanders, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, and O’Rourke. All except Beto were at least tied with POTUS and Sanders led him by as many as seven points. No one touches Uncle Joe margin-wise, though. Why? Well, his leads among indies and women are larger, and his deficit among men is smaller, than any other Dem candidate. He’s also the only person among the six tested against Trump who wins whites in Pennsylvania from Trump outright at 49/46. Even Bernie, who’s cracked up to be a threat to Trump’s white blue-collar base, fares more poorly among whites with and without a college diploma than Biden does. (Interestingly, and oddly, Sanders slightly outperforms Biden with nonwhites in Pennsylvania, a contradiction of the conventional wisdom.) But here’s the real dagger:

If Biden’s appeal to a core Republican group like senior citizens crosses party lines, the GOP is in dire trouble. Out: “Biden’s too old to run for president.” In: “Only a geriatric candidate can defeat Trump.”

How’s Scranton Joe pulling it off? The same way he’s pulling it off in every other poll: Perceived electability. Here’s how things shake out when Pennsylvania Dems are asked which candidate stands the best chance of beating Trump.

That’s a mind-boggling result, although I’m telling myself not to make too much of it. It’s still early-early, after all, and Biden is the one candidate in the race whom every voter knows. Go figure that Democrats would view a twice-elected vice president of the United States as electable. Plus, to some degree electability is a lagging indicator. How do you suppose the numbers here would look next year if Sanders out-organized Biden to win Iowa, then capitalized on his regional advantage to win New Hampshire? You think voters would start to see Bernie as a bit more “electable” once he’s actually won a pair of important elections?

But Iowa and New Hampshire are many months away and in the meantime no one appears to pose even a faint threat to Biden in this metric. And it’s a hugely important one. With the party spoiling to oust the bad orange man from the White House, electability is apt to be the single most attractive quality to voters. If Iowa and New Hampshire voters go to the polls fully believing that Biden is their best bet to dump Trump, explain to me how Bernie wins those states.

Trump may be unwittingly feeding Biden’s electability narrative in that he’s the Democrat who’s received the most attention from POTUS lately and thus the candidate who can most plausibly claim to be the one whom Trump is worried about. Trump’s advisors are nervous that his sporadic jabs are Biden are amounting to free PR for the former VP and are nudging him to stop. Good luck with that, my dudes:

Matt Gorman, a veteran of past Republican presidential campaigns, said that Mr. Trump was simply handing Mr. Biden a gift.

“In a Democratic primary, attacks from President Trump are the best thing that can happen to you,” Mr. Gorman said. “It elevates you, gives you a huge fund-raising boost and sucks the oxygen from your competitors.”…

”The campaign must force Biden back into the Democratic primary,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist. “They’ve allowed him to start a general election strategy unscathed by a potential bear pit created by the populist left. Sanders and Warren are your first lines of defense — and they must be weaponized to attack, especially on China.”

Trump’s shots at “Sleepy Joe” have produced an 11-point Biden lead in Pennsylvania so far. As for the primary, he leads Sanders 39/13, which amounts to a 20-point lead among Democratic men and a 30-point lead among Democratic women. Of eight state and national polls published this month, Sanders has slipped below 20 percent in seven of them. In four of them he’s at 15 percent or worse. I can imagine Warren eventually breaking from the pack as her Superwonk shtick continues to win fans and I can imagine Harris breaking from the pack as voters, especially black voters, get better acquainted with her. But it’s hard to foresee how Bernie breaks out re-running the same message as in 2016. Biden would have to falter, leaving his blue-collar voters forced to look for a Plan B. I don’t think it’s Bernie’s race to win anymore so much as Biden’s to lose.

Still, Trump has one important card to play in PA and beyond:

Seventy-one percent say Pennsylvania’s economy is “excellent” or “good” while 77 percent describe their personal financial situation that way. A president with numbers like that might lose, but it won’t be easy. And it surely won’t be in a landslide.

Here’s Kamala Harris with a cute joke at Biden’s expense today. At least, I think it’s a joke.