You may have noticed a lack of interest by RightWisconsin in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll. That is not because of any lack of respect for the work of Dr. Charles Franklin, whose poll really is the gold standard of polling in Wisconsin.
There is the matter of timing. The poll was conducted before the latest round of riots in Madison. We can’t know what the continuing destruction by leftist rioters is going to have on the electorate, but it’s hard to believe that it will be helpful to Democrats. Governor Tony Evers’ refusal to be wakened by vandalism at the state Capitol should be remembered long after the memory of Hans Christian Heg’s statue has faded.
Nonetheless, the poll does show bad news for President Donald Trump. Wisconsin registered voters prefer Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden 49 percent to Trump’s 41 percent.
Worse for the president, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert points out, Trump’s support is slipping among male voters.
“In the first four polls Marquette conducted this year, Biden trailed Trump by an average of 18 points among men,” Gilbert wrote. “But Biden and Trump were tied among men in Wisconsin in the new polls by Marquette and New York Times/Siena.”
And the geography isn’t so hot, either, for the president. Trump’s support is slipping in rural counties.
“Trump won the areas outside the Milwaukee and Madison TV markets (home to 51 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties) by 15 points against Hillary Clinton,” Gilbert reminded us. “But in the Marquette poll, he’s now slightly behind in those same combined regions.”
Why is Trump’s support declining? Because of Republicans. He’s dropped ten points among Republicans between May and June.
In addition, independents went from preferring Trump to preferring Biden.
Which is why it’s a little early for Wisconsinites to be concerned about a Marquette Law School poll now.
The real campaign hasn’t begun. We haven’t even had the parties’ national conventions yet. The ad war is really just beginning.
We can largely expect the rural Republican voters to “come home” to the Republican Party. That means independents and Milwaukee Suburban County voters (WOW: Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington) will be the battleground in the near term.
It’s no accident that Vice President Mike Pence was in Waukesha while Trump was in Marinette last week. Time to rebuild the base before the election heats up.
And for anyone who thinks time is running short, Trump’s numbers looked awfully familiar:
Trump is running about the same as he did four years ago, according to the same Marquette University Law School Poll.
Can the president still lose? Of course. His word salad response to a question about his agenda for the next four years suggests Biden may not be the only one incapable of speaking on the campaign trail. Trump is always just one scandal away, one Tweet even, from destroying himself completely. Voters could even get “Trump fatigue” as 2020 continues to be one plague after another.
Meanwhile, Biden is not Hillary Clinton. There is not the same built-in animosity towards the former vice president, nor the same level of scandals from his past. “Lock her up” is not going to work against Biden.
But if we have learned anything from the 2016 campaign, we have no reason to believe poll numbers now are going to be an indicator of the actual vote in November. There is still plenty of 2020 left before Election Day.