Democratic candidate Joe Biden has grown his lead over Republican President Donald Trump in Wisconsin with only nine days until Election Day, according to a new poll released by the University of Wisconsin Monday.
The Election Research Center (ERC) at UW-Madison determined Biden passed a “crucial” threshold in the state, as he leads Trump by nine points (53 to 44 percent) among “likely voters” in the poll’s survey — a jump from the four point (50 to 46 percent) lead he held in September.
The latest data came as part of the ERC’s fourth edition of the survey, in which data accrued from Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three key battleground states, was collected from Oct. 13 through Oct. 21.
All three states voted Republican in the 2016 election, but have traditionally voted Democratic dating back to the 1980s, according to a UW-Madison news release.
Biden’s lead stems from a huge gap in early voters (73 to 26 percent), and while Trump leads among individuals who have yet to vote, “the margin is not large enough to compensate for Biden’s advantage in the early vote,” the poll says.
Over 1.3 million ballots — about 45 percent of all votes cast in the 2016 election — have been returned in Wisconsin as of Monday according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, and other polls project Democrats as more likely to vote by mail than Republicans.
The ERC noted the shift toward Biden this past month does not come from a change in voter preferences, as each candidate maintained a supporter retention rate over 98 percent since July. Rather, previously undecided or third party voters have contributed to Biden’s lead.
The survey also found 51 percent of Biden supporters called the coronavirus pandemic the most important issue in the country, while 45 percent of Trump voters listed the economy. The U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barret ranked low in importance for both groups, with only 7 percent of Trump voters and 3 percent of Biden voters ranking it as the top issue.
The results also suggested Democrats have done a better job at reaching out and converting individuals who voted for Trump in 2016 than Republicans have been at converting voters who supported former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton four years ago — another likely reason for Biden’s solid numbers.
Polling data from Michigan and Pennsylvania also reflected a similar trend found in Wisconsin. Biden holds an eight-point lead in Pennsylvania (52 to 44 percent) and a 10-point lead in Michigan (52 to 42 percent).
Eight hundred respondents were surveyed in each of the three states. The margin of error for the full sample ranges between plus or minus 3.73 and 4.20 percent for each of the three states. For likely voters, the margin of error for each state ranges between 4.07 and 4.45 percent.