Why Things Are Different This Time

Mr. Bradley, 56, said he regretted his decision to vote for Mr. Trump shortly after the last election, and had been dismayed by Mr. Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think he should have taken it more seriously,” said Mr. Bradley, a human resources manager at a pharmaceutical company. “That’s just another example of his many lies. He should have not downplayed it as if it was just another bout of the flu.”

Mr. Bradley predicted that the surrounding Northampton County in eastern Pennsylvania, one of only three counties in the state to vote for Mr. Trump in 2016 after backing President Barack Obama in 2012, would swing back to the Democrats this time because voters were “tired” of Mr. Trump. “He’s worn people out,” he said.

But Bill Schwab, a retired beer wholesaler and a registered independent, said he would vote for Mr. Trump again because he liked the president’s tax policies, and he was worried that a Biden administration would be too liberal.

“I’m afraid of the other side, what they’re going to do once they get in, as far as taxes and that type of stuff, and just the way they want to give away the farm,” Mr. Schwab, 65, said in an interview outside the post office in Northampton County.

Mr. Schwab said he was not happy with the president’s management of the pandemic, although that would not affect his voting decision. “It’s a pandemic, he shouldn’t have acted like it was going to go away,” he said.

In a county that Mr. Trump won by less than four percentage points in 2016, voters on both sides predict this year’s result will be close. But Democrats’ hopes were buoyed on Oct. 6 by a Monmouth University poll showing Mr. Biden leading by 53 percent to 42 percent in the 10 Pennsylvania counties — including Northampton — that were the most closely decided four years ago, when Mr. Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania as a whole.