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New surveys in three key battleground states show former Vice President Joe Biden with solid leads over President Donald Trump as both candidates head into their nominating conventions later this month.
Biden’s advantage in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin is largely the result of consolidating the Democratic vote and attracting support from voters who supported minor party candidates or did not vote in 2016. Since February, previously undecided voters have shifted in Biden’s direction, and views surrounding Trump’s handling of both the coronavirus and protests over policing are closely tied to vote choice. Trump’s struggle is partly due to his weaker position among white voters than was seen in his victory four years ago.
These findings are from the second of several 2020 battleground surveys from the Elections Research Center at UW-Madison. The poll in Wisconsin is conducted in collaboration with the Wisconsin State Journal. Interviews were conducted between July 27 and August 6.
“All three states remain battlegrounds that should not be ignored by either campaign,” said Barry Burden, political science professor and director of the ERC. “Biden is well positioned to win all three states because of his strength with core Democratic constituencies and because of negative views of Trump’s handling of both the pandemic and protests.”
Biden leads Trump in all three states among respondents who are registered to vote. His lead is more commanding in Pennsylvania (50-41 percent) and somewhat less sizable in Michigan (47-43 percent) and Wisconsin (49-43 percent).
Biden’s lead is even larger when limiting the analysis to only registered voters who say they are “certain” to vote. Among them, Biden leads by five points in Michigan (50-45), ten in Pennsylvania (52-42), and eight in Wisconsin (52-44).
A potential comeback for Trump over the next three months would potentially look different in Wisconsin than in the other two states. While partisan identifiers overwhelmingly support their candidates with more than 90 percent support across all three states, Biden’s lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania is primarily the result of Democrats outnumbering Republicans and independents being more closely divided. In Wisconsin partisan identifiers are essentially equal in size but independents give Biden the edge.
This is the second of several surveys in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin that will be conducted during the 2020 election season by the ERC in partnership with the Wisconsin State Journal for all polling done in Wisconsin.
Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all voted for Democratic presidential candidates going back to the 1980s but flipped to the Republicans in 2016 to help President Donald Trump win the Electoral College.
Surveys of voting age adults were conducted by YouGov under the direction of the ERC. YouGov is a leading marketing and polling firm that conducts surveys for news outlets such as CBS News, the Economist, and the Huffington Post. Interviews were conducted online with respondents selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel. The sample was selected and weighted to reflect the adult population in each state based on gender, age, race, and education.
800 respondents were surveyed in each of the three states. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 5.05% in Michigan, 4.85% in Pennsylvania, and 4.86% in Wisconsin.
More analysis about the poll and results from the February survey are available on the Elections Research Center’s web site (elections.wisc.edu).
Experts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center are available for analysis of the survey.
UW ERC faculty members are available for media inquiries:
– Barry Burden, Professor of Political Science, Director of Elections Research Center, email@example.com, 608-263-6351
– David Canon, Professor of Political Science, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-263-2283
– Katherine Cramer, Professor of Political Science, email@example.com, 608-347-8528
– Kenneth Mayer, Professor of Political Science, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-263-2286
– Eleanor Powell, Associate Professor of Political Science, email@example.com, 608-265-5798
– Michael Wagner, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-263-3392
Wisconsin State Journal contact: Matt DeFour, state politics editor, email@example.com, 608-252-6144