Poll Shows Biden Narrowly Leads in Wisconsin, Up Big in Minnesota

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden meets with community members at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wis., on Sept. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

MILWAUKEE (CN) — A poll released Wednesday shows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden maintaining his narrow edge over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin and holding a wider lead over the Republican incumbent in Minnesota.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll indicates the Trump administration’s ramped up ground game in Wisconsin amid recent turbulence there over the police shooting of Jacob Blake has so far failed to dramatically change the race in the crucial battleground.

It also makes clear that Biden has a healthy advantage over Trump in Minnesota according to most metrics, including on matters of the economy, crime, racial justice and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Among likely voters in Wisconsin, 52% said they would vote for Biden if the election were held today, compared to 46% who said they would vote for Trump. It’s a nearly statistical tie given the Wisconsin survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Those numbers suggest that recent contrasting visits to the Badger State by both Biden and Trump in the wake of protests and violence in Kenosha reacting to Blake’s shooting have not significantly moved the needle for either candidate in terms of voter support.

However, Wisconsin voters polled did trust Biden more than Trump to treat racial groups equally by a 51% to 41% margin, and Biden edged out Trump 49% to 45% when voters were asked who they trusted more to discourage violence at political protests.

Likely voters in Minnesota overwhelmingly said they would vote for Biden over Trump, with the former vice president getting 57% support compared to the incumbent president’s 41% support. Biden’s lead is well outside the Minnesota survey’s margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The numbers did not change dramatically in either Upper Midwest state when the candidate preference question was put to voters who have already registered instead of those who just said they were likely to vote, Wednesday’s poll shows.

The difference in results between the two states remains stark when broken down issue by issue, as Wisconsin appears to be much friendlier turf for the president even though he still trails Biden among likely and registered voters in general.

In Wisconsin, 50% of voters trust Trump to handle the economy better than Biden, who got the support of 45% of those polled. Forty-nine percent of Badger State voters trust Biden more to handle the coronavirus outbreak compared to 42% for Trump.

Trump’s recent visit to Kenosha focused almost exclusively on hammering home his law and order message, but both he and Biden got the support of 48% of Wisconsin voters when they were asked who they trust more to handle crime and safety.

The preference for Biden in Minnesota, however, is undeniable, according to the poll’s results.

In terms of crime and safety, which along with the economy is one of Trump’s most resonant platforms, 53% of Minnesotans trust the issue in Biden’s hands compared to 42% who trust Trump more.

Biden beat out Trump on the question of the economy in the North Star State 49% to 46%, although that difference is within the margin of error.

The Minnesota results tilt even more in Biden’s favor when it comes to the issues of handling the coronavirus outbreak, equal treatment of racial groups and health care, for which Biden won out 58% to 36%, 59% to 35%, and 56% to 39%, respectively.

Wednesday’s poll shows that the economy, the pandemic, crime and safety, health care and racial justice are the five most important issues for voters in both states, in that order.

As big as some of Biden’s leads may be, Trump voters continue to be much more enthusiastic about their candidate than voters who prefer the veteran Delaware senator.

Sixty-nine percent of Wisconsin voters said they are very enthusiastic about supporting Trump, compared to 67% of Minnesota voters. Fifty percent of Wisconsinites expressed strong enthusiasm about supporting Biden, and only 44% of Minnesotans felt the same.

Both states’ electorates remain heavily polarized over Trump’s job performance.

Forty-six percent of Wisconsin voters approve of Trump’s performance, 34% of which said they strongly approve, whereas 46% strongly disapprove of his performance out of an overall 52% net disapproval.

Asked the same question, Minnesota voters seemed more certain, with 54% saying they strongly disapprove of the president’s performance out of a net 59% disapproval, whereas only 30% say they strongly approve of his performance out of 40% total approval.

There still may be plenty of undecided voters in each state, however, as roughly one-third of those polled in both think of themselves as independent voters, although similar percentages in each classified themselves as either Republican or Democrat.

The poll was conducted Sept. 8 to 13 using the randomly selected phone numbers of 705 registered voters in Minnesota, including 615 likely voters, and 702 registered voters in Wisconsin, including 605 likely voters.

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