The latest Marquette University (MU) Law School poll surveyed Wisconsin voters on the 2020 presidential race, coronavirus, police reform and surrounding protests, and political leaders’ responses on these current events. The poll, conducted June 14-18, found Vice President Joe Biden expanding his lead over President Donald Trump as voters expressed their support for some police reform measures and measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
In the head-to-head question between Biden and Trump, Biden prevails by eight points, 49-41. Biden’s lead has increased significantly from just three points in May.
Republican voters supporting Trump declined in June. 93 percent of Republicans chose Trump in the head-to-head question in May, compared to 83 percent in June.
The June MU poll numbers mirror a New York Times/Sienna poll released the next day as to the status of the race in Wisconsin. That poll has Biden leading 49-38.
Ahead of the November election, Republican and Democratic National Conventions are scheduled for August. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Milwaukee, though details are still uncertain in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the latest MU poll, just 39 percent said the conventions should meet in person. A 53 percent majority said the conventions should not meet in person as planned. Shortly after the release of the MU poll, the DNC announced it will be holding a mostly virtual convention.
President Donald Trump
The president’s job approval numbers dropped by two percentage points in June, though the change was still within the margin of error. 45 percent approve of Trump’s handling his job as president, and 51 percent disapprove. Trump’s favorability numbers also dropped by about two percentage points to 42 percent favorable, 54 percent unfavorable. Support for Trump among Republicans declined slightly in the June poll.
On specific issues, approval of Trump varies:
- Voters’ confidence in Trump’s handling of the economy has fallen since the May poll, with 50 percent approving, down from 54 percent in May.
- Wisconsin voters largely disapprove of Trump’s handling of protests, with 58 percent disapproving and 30 percent approving. 47 percent strongly disapprove, while only 29 percent strongly approve or somewhat approve.
- On the coronavirus, 52 percent still disapprove of the president’s response.
Worry about coronavirus continues to decline since its height in March. 55 percent are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about contracting the virus and the seriousness of the illness, down from 60 percent in May and 70 percent in April. However, Wisconsin voters continue to support the decision to close schools and businesses and restrict the size of public gatherings, with 72 percent saying closures were an appropriate response. 69 percent agreed with the decision in May, and 86 percent agreed in April.
Voters continue to see the pandemic as a longer term problem. A plurality of respondents (53 percent) believe the outbreak won’t be under control until at least a year from now, up from 36 percent in May and just 9 percent in April who agreed with that timeline.
As the state continues to see economic effects of the pandemic, more people are viewing the economy as getting worse over the past year, at 50 percent, up from 46 percent in May, 31 percent at the beginning of April, and just 15 percent in February. However, more people in the June poll believe the economy will improve over the next year, with 50 percent saying the economy will get better, compared to 45 percent in May. 19 percent say the economy will continue to get worse, down from 31 percent in May. 24 percent say the economy will stay the same.
In the June poll, fewer respondents reported job losses. 36 percent of respondents, someone in their family, or both have lost their job. That number had jumped to 41 percent in May, up from 30 percent in April.
Gov. Tony Evers
Evers’s approval numbers continue to drop from their all time high in early April at the height of the coronavirus crisis, though a comfortable 54 percent majority of voters still approve of his handling his job as governor. 38 percent disapprove of Evers. Evers’s favorability numbers also remain high at 54 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable.
Approval of Evers’s response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to decline, though a solid majority still approve of his handling of the crisis. 58 percent approve of the governor’s actions, down from 64 percent in May and 76 percent in April.
Policing & Protests
In the wake of protests surrounding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Marquette poll asked several questions about policing, police reform, and related protests.
A majority of Wisconsin voters approve of the protests and the message behind them. 61 percent approve of the protests in the wake of Floyd’s death, and 36 percent disapprove. Among black respondents, that number rises to 74 percent approval and 24 percent disapproval. 78 percent of all respondents said prejudice against black people in the United States is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem.
86 percent of Wisconsinites feel mostly safe about police in their community. 11 percent feel mostly anxious. However, among black respondents, 43 percent feel mostly safe, and 44 percent feel mostly anxious.
42 percent of all respondents say police are too willing to use deadly force. This number rises to 68 percent among black respondents. In total, a plurality (48 percent) of respondents say incidents of police killings of black Americans are part of a larger pattern. 44 percent believe these are isolated incidents. 86 percent of black respondents said the killings are part of a larger pattern.
As to reforms to fix the problem, just 23 percent of all respondents support calls to “defund the police.” However, 81 percent support restructuring the role of police and requiring greater accountability for police misconduct.