(CN) – A poll released Tuesday shows former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump slipping in three key Midwestern battleground states.
Biden, currently considered the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, was once solidly ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which all went for Trump in the 2016 election.
But new polling conducted by Firehouse-Optimus found Trump has gained ground in recent weeks, with the race between the two candidates at a statistical dead heat in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Biden still enjoys a solid 6-point lead over Trump in Wisconsin, but that’s down from 12 points in March.
Despite the sour news for Democrats, Trump’s approval ratings remain underwater in all three states.
“We find Trump’s job approval is in the mid-40s in each state, and his disapproval hovers around 50%,” Firehouse Strategies said in a release Tuesday.
The poll continues to provide evidence that Biden is the most significant general election threat to Trump in the three states, as Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg all polled significantly worse in head-to-head matchups with the president.
“Between the four, Biden tends to overperform compared to the other candidates, while Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg are tied or trail in all three states,” Firehouse said. “Given the electoral math, the Democratic nominee likely needs to win most or all of these Midwestern states to win the election.”
The three states remain the focus of any electoral strategy. If the map stays the same as 2016, then whoever would take the three Midwestern states would win the White House.
Biden is beating Trump with 46% of voters in Wisconsin, compared to 40%. Comparatively, Warren only gets 41% of voters in the Badger State, running dead even with Trump at 41%.
Sanders does slightly better than Biden, garnering 47% compared to Trump’s 40%.
Buttigieg fares the worst of the four candidates currently running ahead in the polls. He manages only 39% in Wisconsin, compared to Trump’s 41%.
In Michigan, Biden is ahead of Trump by 2 percentage points, effectively a dead heat. The three other leading Democrats trail behind the Republican incumbent in the Wolverine State, according to the poll.
The picture is much the same in Pennsylvania, where Biden edged out Trump by a single percentage point, with Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg all trailing.
All of this points to Biden as the most formidable opponent for Trump at this stage of the race, the pollsters said.
The good news for the three other candidates – and others not included in the poll, like U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker – is that it’s still early.
It’s more than a year and a half before the general election, and the Democratic Party and its voters won’t select a nominee until next summer. The head-to-head polls will matter more after the final contenders are decided and each side begins to make a case to the electorate.
A majority of voters in all three Midwestern states oppose impeachment proceedings by a significant margin, bolstering arguments made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi against pursuing that course of action. In Wisconsin alone, 57% of poll respondents said no to impeachment, while only 33% said yes.
The poll was conducted between June 11 and June 13. In Wisconsin, 535 highly likely voters were polled with a margin error of 4.3 percentage points. In Pennsylvania, the poll included 565 voters with a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points. The margin of error was the same in Michigan, where pollsters interviewed 587 likely voters.