Wisconsin’s presidential primary will take place on April 7, and the latest Marquette University (MU) Law School poll provides a snapshot into how Wisconsin voters are feeling and who they’re supporting as the race gets closer. The latest poll, conducted Feb. 19-23, 2020 – before Super Tuesday voting in several states on March 3, asked 1000 registered voters in Wisconsin their opinions on the Democratic candidates and President Donald Trump, as well as state level politicians.
President Donald Trump
The February poll showed little movement in opinions of Trump throughout January impeachment proceedings.
Trump’s approval ratings were not net negative for the first time in the MU poll since he took office at 48 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval. Trump’s favorability numbers remained the same as they have in the past few months at 45 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable. Independents tend to have an unfavorable view toward Trump.
In what was the first poll since impeachment proceedings wrapped up in January, 42 percent of respondents said the Senate should have removed Trump from office. 52 percent agreed with the vote to acquit the president. In January, 44 percent said remove, and 49 percent said acquit.
Gov. Tony Evers
Gov. Tony Evers’s numbers remained largely unchanged from the previous poll. The governor sits at a 51 percent approval, 38 percent disapproval rating.
As the biennial legislative session in Wisconsin comes to a close, 46 percent of voters approve of how the Wisconsin Legislature is handling its job, and 40 percent disapprove. These numbers are similar to numbers when the MU poll last asked about the Legislature in November 2019. The Legislature started the 2019-20 Legislative session with 52 percent approving, 31 percent disapproving.
After a decline in voters viewing the state as on the “right track” in the January poll, numbers in the right track/wrong track question bounced up again in February. 52 percent of voters see Wisconsin as generally going in the right direction, compared to 46 percent in January. 39 percent see the state as having gotten off on the wrong track, compared to 47 percent in January.
Dem Primary Voters
The poll results captured voter opinions before major developments in the Democratic primary race– South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar both dropped out before Super Tuesday and endorsed Vice President Joe Biden. On the heels of the endorsements, Biden won a significant share of Super Tuesday states, leading Mike Bloomberg to end his campaign the following morning. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also ender her campaign later in the week.
With the race narrowed to just Biden and Sanders, the February MU poll results are now mostly irrelevant but will be interesting to compare with future polls getting closer to April 7.
In February, Wisconsin voters’ top choices for the Democratic primary for president had shifted significantly from the January poll. After leading Wisconsin polls for several straight months, Biden fell behind Sanders in February, with 15 percent of Democratic voters selecting him as their top choice and 29 percent selecting Sanders. Biden’s lead has dropped in every poll since October, when 31 percent of voters said he was their first choice. However, with Biden’s momentum after Super Tuesday, these numbers could shift before Wisconsinites vote in April.
Electability is a big question for Democratic voters going into the primary. When the poll asked all voters who they believe would be the strongest candidate against the incumbent president, Sanders came out on top at 28 percent. Sanders was also the only candidate to beat Trump in the head-to-head matchup questions. 12 percent of voters said Biden was the strongest candidate against Trump, and Biden was tied with Trump in the head-to-head question.
Sanders appears to be the frontrunner in Wisconsin, but with Biden gaining momentum in the weeks since the February poll was conducted, it is unclear where the candidates currently stand.
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