Four new thiophene-quinoxaline acceptor based polymers have been synthesized. The parent thiophene-quinoxaline acceptor based copolymer was modified by introducing different electron-withdrawing groups adjacent to the thiophene side group. The effect on the physical, electrochemical and optical properties of the polymer series is discussed with respect to the parent thiophene-quinoxaline acceptor based polymer. The side chain carbonyl from one modified monomer could conveniently be transformed to either a difluoromethylene or an -ylidene malononitrile group via carbonyl transformations. For all polymers incorporating an electron-withdrawing side group both the HOMO and especially the LUMO were significantly shifted away from vacuum while all exhibit enhanced light harvesting ability. Especially the incorporation of an -ylidine malononitrile side group increases both the spectral coverage and absorption coefficient. Incorporation of a difluoromethylene side group resulted in a twofold increase of the molecular weight compared to the parent polymer structure.