Oct. 29, 2020
By Benjamin Yount
Center Square News Service
MILWAUKEE - The race for U.S. president looks like it has for months in Wisconsin: Close, with Joe Biden holding the lead.
The final Marquette University Law School Poll before the November election gives Biden a five point lead over President Donald Trump, 46 percent to 41 percent.
“Among likely voters, 91 percent say their minds are made up while six percent say they might change their minds,” pollsters noted. “Among Biden supporters, 95 percent say their minds are made up. Among Trump supporters, 93 percent say their minds are made up.”
As a whole, the poll said seven percent of voters in Wisconsin are not sure, or would not say who they will vote for.
That is significant, because that undecided number is larger than Biden’s lead. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.3 percent.
The Marquette poll has shown a consistently tight race for months. It was a four point Biden lead in August, and a five point Biden lead in September.
One of the few numbers that has changed in the Marquette Law School survey is Trump’s job approval rating.
“As of late October, 47 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove of Trump’s job performance. That is a three-point increase in approval and no change in disapproval since early October,” the pollsters reported.
The poll shows more people approve of how the president handled this year’s protests, 40 percent approve and 54 percent disapprove in the new poll, compared to 37 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval last month. Fifty-one percent of people approve of how the president is handling the economy, compared to 48% who disapprove. Those numbers are largely unchanged.
The Marquette poll does show fewer people support how the president is handling the coronavirus.
“After an initial approval rating in March of more than 50 percent for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump’s approval on this front has fallen to 40 percent in late October, a slight change since early October, with approval down 1 point and disapproval up two points,” pollsters said.
The poll is also giving a glimpse into early voting in Wisconsin.
Pollsters asked the people they spoke with if they voted early, and how they voted.
“In the poll, 41 percent of registered voters say they have already voted either by absentee or in-person early voting. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission data, 37.5 percent of registered voters had voted as of the end of the poll’s field period on Oct. 25,” pollsters said. “Among those who say they have already voted, 64 percent report they voted for Biden, 25 percent voted for Trump.”
Another nine percent declined to answer those questions.
The poll indicates supporters of both Trump and Biden are cautiously optimistic about victory next week.
“Sixteen percent of likely voters expect Trump to win the election by a lot, 23 percent think Trump will win by a little, 29 percent think Biden will win by a little and 17 percent think Biden will win by a lot,” the poll showed. “Eighty percent of Trump voters expect him to win and 11 percent expect Biden to win. Among Biden voters, 80 percent expect him to win and six percent expect Trump to win.”
The poll was conducted Oct. 21-25, 2020. The sample included 806 registered voters in Wisconsin, who were interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points. There are 749 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.