August MU Poll Surveys Wis. Voters on 2020 Election, Masks, Economy

The most recent Marquette University (MU) Law School poll, conducted Aug. 4-9, 2020, covered the 2020 Presidential election, the coronavirus response, economic hardship, police reform and other current issues.

2020 Presidential Election

In the head-to-head question between Biden and Trump, Biden prevails by 5 points, 49-44 among likely voters. While this is not much of a change from June, it shows the Presidential race in Wisconsin continues to be very tight.

The August MU poll numbers mirror a number of other recent polls, CBS News and YouGov poll released found Biden leading Trump 48 percent to 42 percent among likely voters, and the Election Research Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, looking at registered voters, found Biden ahead with 49 percent to Trump’s 43 percent.

President Trump’s incremental gains in the Wisconsin polls is a backdrop for next week’s Democratic National Convention. Originally scheduled to be in Milwaukee, the DNC has moved to almost all virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, President Trump is planning an in-person stop in Wisconsin to rally support.

Governor Evers

Overall, 57 percent of the respondents approved of Gov. Evers, while 37 percent disapprove. This is a slight uptick from 54 percent approval in the June poll. 61 percent of respondents approved of the governor’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, an increase from 58 percent approval in June. At the start of the pandemic in Wisconsin in March, the governor’s job approval numbers hit a high of 65 percentage.

The governor’s approval for the coronavirus outbreak also trended upward from the June poll. In June, 58 percent of respondents approved of his handling of the outbreak compared to 61 percent in August. Interestingly, the August MU poll was taken after the governor announced another state public health emergency and mask mandate.

President Trump

President Donald Trump’s approval rating declined to 44 percent, with 54 percent disapproving in the August poll. Voters’ opinions demonstrated a large majority disapproval of President Trumps handling of the George Floyd protests (32 percent approve, and 58 percent disapprove), as well as the coronavirus outbreak (40 percent approve, and 58 percent disapprove).

The President’s strongest area was regarding his handling of the economy.  51 percent of voters approved, and 46 percent disapproved, and 3 percent did not know. This is a slight uptick from June, where 50 percent approved, and 46 percent disapproved.

Coronavirus, Masks, and the Economy

Regarding COVID-19, the August poll found that more voters are personally concerned about the virus, however the poll demonstrated a strong partisan divide among Republicans and Democrats over masks. Overall, 69 percent felt masks should be worn in public. By party affiliation, 93 percent of identified Democrats supported the public mask wearing compared to 43 percent of Republicans. The poll showed voters were evenly decided on in-school instruction for children in the upcoming school year.

Even with warmer summer weather, more people seem to have a negative outlook of the past and prospects of the economy. Most people view the economy as getting worse over the past year, at 56 percent, up from 50 percent in June, 31 percent at the beginning of April, and just 15 percent in February. In addition, people have lost a bit of optimism that the economy will improve over the next year, with 23 percent saying the economy will continue to get worse, up from 19 percent in June. 21 percent say the economy will stay the same.