New Marquette Poll Shows Race Tightening Between Trump And Biden

Sep 9, 2020

The latest Marquette Law School Poll shows the race between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is tightening.

The poll surveyed about 800 registered voters and nearly 700 likely voters over a three-day period toward the beginning of September. It shows Biden leading Trump among likely voters by four percentage points, 47-43, which is within the margin of error of about plus or minus four percentage points. That’s a bit tighter than the August poll, which showed Biden ahead by five points at 49-44.

Poll Director Charles Franklin notes that the survey was conducted following the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. He says it doesn’t appear that the conventions, held virtually because of the coronavirus, made a difference.

“While in some conventions we’ve seen substantial post-convention bounces, this year, not very much. Don’t know if that’s because of the new format or that the two were right next to each other or for some other reason," he says.

The poll also was conducted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. It sparked several nights of protests, as well as the looting and burning of businesses, and resulted in the shooting deaths of two protesters by an Illinois teen.

Franklin says when the June poll was conducted following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, people were in favor of the protests that ensued. But he says that has changed over time.

“In June, 61% approved of the protests. In early August, before the events in Kenosha, that had fallen to 48% approve and 48% disapprove," he says. "This month following the Kenosha protests, it is 47% approve and 48% disapprove. So, almost no difference at all in the wake of Kenosha, but a substantial movement that took place over the summer.”

In addition, the poll shows a decline in Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ approval rating. It fell six points to 51% from the August survey. Republican critics of Evers claim he was slow to deploy enough National Guard troops to stop the destruction in Kenosha that followed the Blake shooting. Franklin says it’s unclear if Evers’ approval rating dropped because voters share that view.