Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly approve of the way Gov. Tony Evers has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, helping fuel higher overall job approval numbers, according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll.

Meanwhile, a narrow majority of voters approve of how President Trump has addressed the outbreak. But that hasn’t had a significant impact on either Trump’s overall job approval rating in Wisconsin or on the numbers in the horse race for president.

Today’s release included a focus on the coronavirus pandemic, finding 76 percent of voters approve of how Evers has handled the situation, while just 17 percent disapproved.

That helped fuel a surge in Evers’ overall job approval numbers. Sixty-five percent of voters approve of the Dem guv’s performance, while 29 percent disapprove. That’s up from a 51-38 split in February.

Evers issued a series of orders on social distancing before issuing a stay-at-home directive last week just before the poll went into the field. The survey found 86 percent support government action to close schools and businesses, along with restricting public gatherings. Ten percent said such moves were an overreaction.

Polling nationally has found governors generally getting better marks on their handling of the pandemic than the president, and that was true in the Marquette poll as well. 

Fifty-one percent of voters approve of Trump’s handling of the outbreak, while 46 percent disapprove.

Overall, 48 percent approve of his job performance, while 49 percent disapprove, compared to a 48-48 split in February.

General election race remains tight

The poll continued to find a tight presidential race.

Forty-eight percent backed Joe Biden, who has surged to a lead in the Dem nomination contest since the previous Marquette poll in February. Meanwhile, 45 percent support Trump.

Forty-seven percent favored the president when paired with Bernie Sanders, who was at 45 percent.

Those numbers are unchanged from February, when Biden and Trump were tied at 46.

Biden leads Sanders in Dem primary

In the Dem primary, 62 percent back Biden, while 34 percent support Sanders.

Among those who indicated they are absolutely certain to vote or have already voted, it was Biden 65, Sanders 32.

The poll warned with the spike in absentee ballots and an unknown Election Day turnout, the findings “should be viewed with more than the usual caution.”

The February poll was conducted before the Dem primary field began to winnow.

The survey had Sanders leading the bigger field at 29 percent, while Biden was at 15 percent.

The poll of 813 registered Wisconsin voters was conducted using live interviewers over landlines and cellphones March 24-29. The margin of error for the overall sample was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

In the Dem primary, the overall question was asked of 394 voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.9 percentage points. Of those, 315 indicated they absolutely would vote or already had, resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 6.6 percentage points.

With leaners included, the partisan makeup of the poll was 46 percent Republican, 46 percent Dem and 7 percent independent. The long-term trend is 45-45-9.

See full release here.

Watch a presentation on the poll here.


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