Less than a week before the Democratic National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead President Donald Trump in Wisconsin, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll.
But the survey, the poll's first public look at likely voters (who report they are almost certain they'll cast ballots) along with registered voters ahead of the Nov. 3 general election, showed the margins narrowing slightly between the two.
This time, results showed Biden with a 49% to 44% lead over Trump among likely voters. In June, when the last poll was released, Biden had a six-point advantage.
Around the state, poll director Charles Franklin said the Green Bay area appears "more competitive than it sometimes has" as both Biden and Trump have logged slight leads there in the last few months, while Milwaukee and Madison remain strong for Biden.
The Milwaukee suburbs, Franklin said, are "fairly competitive" though Trump is leading there. And in the northern and western parts of Wisconsin, where Biden was "just barely ahead last month," Trump was found to be on top.
Meanwhile, Biden and Trump's favorability ratings both remain underwater. Biden has a 43% favorability, 48% unfavorability rating, while 42% view Trump favorably and 55% don't.
Noting that it wasn't until 2016 that pollsters saw presidential candidates who were both viewed unfavorably by more than half of voters, Franklin said it's "still sort of unusual" to see the trend continue among both the Democratic and Republican contenders.
"Part of this simply reflects partisan polarization," he said.
Looking ahead to November, Franklin said pollsters found nearly identical levels of engagement among both Democrats and Republicans this cycle, a break from 2018 where Democrats had an enthusiasm advantage.
Also this year, those who identify as independents are reporting lower levels of both enthusiasm and engagement, Franklin said.
Specifically, 87% of Republicans and Democrats say they're certain they'll vote this fall, while 60% of independents do. Around 65% of both Republicans and Democrats also say they're enthusiastic to vote, and just over 70% of respondents from both parties say they follow politics most of the time. Both categories log a drop-off among independents.
The latest poll was in the field Aug. 4-9 with 801 registered voters interviewed, with those results carrying a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9%, as well as 694 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2%.
Four years ago, the early August poll found then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton leading Trump 46-36 among registered voters and 52-37 among likely voters in Wisconsin. Trump ended up narrowly winning the state three months later.
The Democratic National Convention, while still technically held in Milwaukee next week, won't feature an in-person appearance from Biden or other planned convention speakers, organizers announced last week, citing concerns over the COVID-19 crisis. Biden is planning to officially accept his party's nomination from his home state of Delaware.
The announcement was the latest move to scale back the event that was originally expected to draw over 50,000 visitors and generate a more than $200 million economic boost this summer.
Organizers this spring delayed the convention, originally slated for July, to August. Then last month, they announced delegate voting will occur virtually rather than in-person and the event would be held in a smaller venue: the Wisconsin Center, rather than the new Fiserv Forum arena. At that time, Biden was still planning to accept the party's nomination in Milwaukee.
State officials' favorability
Approval for Gov. Tony Evers' job performance and his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak both increased slightly over earlier this summer, the poll found.
This month, Evers logged a 57% approval, 37% disapproval rating, up from the 54%-38% split a month and a half ago.
Similarly, 61% of respondents said they approved of Evers' response to the coronavirus pandemic, while 35% disapproved. That's up from a 58%-37% divide in June.
The majority of individuals also agree that masks should be warn in public places (69%-29%), though there are differences based on party ID and region. For example, just 43% of Republicans agree, while 93% of Democrats do.
And in Madison, 78% of respondents agree while 83% in Milwaukee do, along with 64% in the rest of the Milwaukee metro area and 73% of those in Green Bay and Appleton.
Evers' statewide mask mandate went into effect Aug. 1.
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