Law School Poll shows Trump ahead of Biden, other Democratic candidates

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Law School Poll shows Trump ahead of Biden, other Democratic candidates

The poll was discussed during

The poll was discussed during "On the Issues" at the Law School.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

The poll was discussed during "On the Issues" at the Law School.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

The poll was discussed during "On the Issues" at the Law School.

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President Donald Trump is polling ahead of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a recent Marquette University Law School poll.

The poll, released Nov. 20 and conducted Nov. 13-17, shows that Trump is favored by 47% of respondents while Biden holds 44%. The results are within the margin of error, plus or minus 4.1%. The margin of error percentage can be added to or subtracted from poll result percentages. The resulting percentages after accounting for the margin of error could still hold true among the general population of Wisconsin’s registered voters.

The November poll results come after an October poll that said nearly the opposite: Biden was favored by registered voters more than Trump. Biden held 50% of respondents while Trump held 44%, falling outside the margin of error, plus or minus 4.2%.

President Donald Trump’s current favorability lead compared to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is within the Law School Poll’s margin of error. Graphic by Sydney Czyzon.

The November poll shows Trump favored ahead of other Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. Trump polled ahead of Sanders by 3%, Warren by 5% and Buttigieg by 8% in the event that an election occurred between the candidates.

Biden and Sanders remain the most favored Democratic candidates, with the November poll showing them as the first choices for voters in the Democratic primary. Biden is first choice for 30% of respondents, while Sanders is first choice for 17% of respondents. Warren follows at 15%.

Due to the margin of error, poll director Charles Franklin said the poll does not show top presidential candidates doing significantly better or worse overall when compared to past results. He said the numbers “have shifted a little bit.”

The state of Wisconsin serves as a swing state for the upcoming 2020 presidential election, with slim percentage differences between votes cast for Republican versus Democratic candidates.

“Wisconsin … (is) considered one of the handful of states that is important to the outcome of this next presidential election,” said Mike Gousha, host of the “On the Issues” series at the Law School that presents and explores recent poll results.

The state voted for Democratic candidates in all presidential elections from 1988 to 2012, sometimes by small margins. The trend ended in the 2016 presidential election when Republican candidate Trump narrowly won the state over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Wisconsin is among the majority of states with a winner-take-all system, giving all its electoral college votes to electors that share the party of the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote. The electors then vote for the president.

Franklin said presidential candidate polls give a “baseline reading” before the primaries begin Feb. 3, 2020, with the Iowa caucuses. Primary elections showcase voter preferences in each party to lessen the number of presidential candidates. As of Dec. 1, there were 17 Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates challenging Trump.

Primaries run through mid-June 2020. The Wisconsin primary falls on April 7, 2020.

The recent Law School Poll provided insight about Wisconsin voters’ opinions on Trump.

Since the October poll, a smaller number of Republicans, Democrats and Independents said they support impeaching Trump, though most changes fell within the margin of error.

Gousha pointed out that the poll began Nov. 13, the date the House of Representatives began public hearings as part of its impeachment inquiry into Trump’s activity.

The impeachment hearings are intended to explore whether Trump asked Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, one of the competing 2020 presidential candidates, for business matters involving Biden’s son. The president could face impeachment for bribery, extortion and misappropriation of taxpayer money, as well as obstructing justice if he works to hinder impeachment proceedings.

The poll found that 40% of registered voters said they favor impeachment while 53% said they do not favor impeachment, leaving 6% who said they do not know.

Before public hearings began on the matter, 44% said they favor impeachment and 51% said they are opposed, while 4% said they do not know.

Franklin said the change was modest because the results fell within the margin of error.

Voters’ opinions on impeachment vary greatly by party identification.

While 6% of Republicans supported impeachment in October, 4% of Republicans held that view in the November poll. The November results showed that 94% of Republicans said they oppose impeachment and 2% said they do not know.

As for Democrats, the November poll found that 81% said they believe Trump should be impeached. Eleven percent said they are opposed and 7% said they do not know. In October, the poll found that 88% said they agreed with impeachment, 8% said they did not agree and 3% said they did not know.

Throughout the poll, Franklin said Republicans seemed more unified than Democrats on an opinion regarding impeachment.

Among Independent voters, 38% said they support impeachment, 54% said they do not and 7% said they do not know, according to the November poll. October results were very similar, showing that 42% said they support impeachment, 52% said they do not and 6% said they do not know.

This story was written by Alexa Jurado. She can be reached at alexa.jurado@marquette.edu.

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