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Trump, Biden tied in Wisconsin 9 months out from presidential election

The 2 candidates were tied 49-49 among registered voters in the latest Marquette poll

President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden
President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden are neck-and-neck with nine months to go before the November election, according to a new survey of Wisconsin voters.

The Marquette University Law School Poll surveyed 930 registered voters in Wisconsin between Jan. 24 and Jan. 31. Among those respondents, 49 percent said they would vote for Trump and 49 percent said they would choose Biden.

“So that’s the tightest of results that you could plausibly get,” said Marquette University pollster Charles Franklin.

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The results were well within the poll’s margin of error, which was plus or minus 4.2 percent.

In November, the Marquette poll also found the Trump and Biden race was a tossup. At the time, 50 percent of registered voters said they would vote Biden and 48 percent said they would pick Trump.

A Fox News survey of registered voters released Feb. 1 showed the two tied at 47 percent.

Neither Biden nor Trump was viewed favorably by the public in Marquette’s poll.

Among all registered voters, 40 percent said they have a favorable view of Trump compared to 58 percent who viewed him unfavorably. Biden’s numbers were also negative, with 41 percent viewing him as favorable compared to 58 who view him unfavorably. 

Among GOP Voters, Trump far outpaces Nikki Haley

While Trump is widely expected to clinch the Republican presidential nomination for president, former U.N ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is still in the race. 

According to Marquette’s polling, though, her prospects among Republican voters in Wisconsin aren’t great. When asked who they would pick if the GOP primary were held today, just 22 percent of voters picked Haley, while 64 percent said they’d go with Trump.

“Trump is basically crushing Haley here,” Franklin said.

In a hypothetical general election matchup, Haley fared much better than Trump, leading Biden 57-41 percent among registered voters.

“It really does show us how much a different Republican could gain due to dissatisfaction with Biden,” Franklin said.

Support for 3rd party presidential candidates high

In a theoretical five-way presidential ballot, 16 percent of voters said they would pick independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. over Biden and Trump. Another 4 percent said they’d support Green Party candidate Jill Stein and 2 percent backed independent candidate Cornel West.

“In Wisconsin, normally we see under 3 percent voting for a third party,” Franklin said. “And even in 2016, when it was an exceptionally large third party vote, it still was under 6 percent. So these numbers are way higher than what we normally see.”

Franklin said polling indicates Kennedy is more likely to pull votes from Trump than Biden.

“But on the progressive side of the ledger, it’s Stein that’s taking away a pretty sizable chunk from Democrats,” Franklin said.

When broken down between voters from both parties, 8 percent of Democrats said they would support Stein over Biden.

Voter enthusiasm low compared to 4 years ago

Just 49 percent of registered voters reported being very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s presidential election compared to 70 percent of respondents four years ago.

Among voters who said they were “very enthusiastic,” 59 percent support Trump compared to 41 percent for Biden, which Franklin called a “huge” margin.

Among all other voters who are less enthusiastic about the election, Biden had large margins in Marquette’s polling. The question, Franklin said, will be whether those voters will turn out.

“So that’s the big, big issue for the parties,” Franklin said, adding that this year’s election will boil down to “turnout, turnout, turnout, with a big dose of enthusiasm on the side.”

Voters feel Biden is too old

The issue of age has become prominent in the presidential race, with Biden 81 years old and Trump 77.

The Marquette poll asked voters whether they feel Biden and Trump are too old to be president. For Biden, 61 percent said that described their feelings very well while 29 percent said the same for Trump.

Poll also looks at Baldwin reelection

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin will also be up for reelection in November. The poll found 42 percent of voters had a favorable view of her, while 45 percent reported an unfavorable view.

No Republican has officially entered that race, though Madison businessman Eric Hovde, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark and Franklin businessman Scott Mayer have expressed interest.

Marquette’s poll found 82 percent of voters hadn’t heard enough about Hovde to have an opinion about him. Hovde, who is reportedly laying the groundwork for a 2024 campaign, ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 but was knocked out by former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson in a GOP primary that year. Baldwin went on to defeat Thompson.

Sixty-five percent hadn’t heard enough about Clark and 88 percent haven’t heard enough about Mayer.