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Marquette Poll: Biden's Lead In Wisconsin Holds Steady Following First Debate

Win McNamee
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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participates in the first presidential debate against U.S. President Donald Trump at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Updated at 2:07 p.m. CT

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden still holds a modest advantage over Republican incumbent Donald Trump among Wisconsinites, according to the latest Marquette Law School Poll.

Biden was supported by 46% of likely voters, compared to 41% for Trump. This latest poll has a margin of error of 4.2%.

Marquette Poll Director Charles Franklin noted that Biden has led Trump by about 4 to 6 points in polls of Wisconsinites since May.

“In both [2012 and 2016] we saw surges for each candidate,” Franklin said. “This year it’s the polar opposite. If you go back to May, Biden has led in all of them, but by 4 points, 5 points, 6 points. There’s just no trend from May to the present.”

The poll of 805 registered voters, of which 700 were likely voters, was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 4, following the first presidential debate and Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. It also captured voter reaction in the days right after Trump announced he tested positive for the coronavirus.

But all of these events didn’t substantially change how Wisconsin voters feel about Trump and who they plan to vote for.

“It is the phenomenal story of this administration that events we think are massive and should have gigantic impacts, don’t,” Franklin said.

For example, even though voters by a 2-to-1 margin said Biden did a better job in the first presidential debate, there were no major shifts in voter choices and favorability ratings for Trump.

Trump’s diagnosis with the coronavirus also did not have a statistically significant impact on Wisconsinites’ views of the president’s handling of the pandemic, according to Franklin.

“However, we’re in the field [conducting the poll] from Friday, the day he’s hospitalized, and Saturday and Sunday. But the news of the expanding outbreak of positive cases in the White House is an ongoing story and how the president responds to it – all of those are ongoing things, potentially reshaping views of his handling of COVID,” Franklin said.

Emily is an editor and project leader for WUWM.
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