By GARY LANGER
(NEW YORK) — It’s a close contest in Wisconsin heading into the final seven weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign, while women, suburban residents and independents are among the groups lifting Joe Biden to a substantial lead in Minnesota, according to a pair of new ABC News/Washington Post polls.
Views on the economy and the coronavirus pandemic define the race, and the course of both may prove decisive. And turnout is a wildcard: As is the case nationally, President Donald Trump benefits from much greater enthusiasm among his supporters, who are far more apt to plan to vote on Election Day. That makes Biden’s ability to mobilize early and absentee voting central to the outcome.
Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes out of three million cast. Today, Biden has 52% support among likely voters there, with 46% for Trump — not a statistically significant difference given the survey’s margin of sampling error. In Minnesota, by contrast, Biden holds a clear advantage, 57%-41%, in what’s been a hoped-for Trump pickup after his narrow 45,000-vote loss four years ago.
Results are very similar among the broader pool of registered voters, with Biden-Trump at 50%-46% in Wisconsin and 57%-40% in Minnesota in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.
This survey was produced via random-sample telephone interviewing, with about 75% of calls to cellphones, weighted to census norms for sex, age, race/ethnicity, education and region.
One factor in Biden’s strength in Minnesota is his broad advantage there in how much he’s trusted to handle the pandemic — 58%-36% over Trump among registered voters, compared with a close 49%-42% in Wisconsin. That gap in Minnesota overwhelms a dead heat in trust on the economy.
About six in 10 registered voters in both states express worry that they or a family member might catch the coronavirus, and more than half rate the national economy negatively — two factors that independently predict support for Biden.
Further, both states have been gripped by protests over police treatment of Black people after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last month. Registered voters support such protests by 55%-40% in Minnesota, compared with a close 51%-44% in Wisconsin, and trust Biden over Trump to handle equal treatment of racial groups by 24 percentage points in Minnesota, shrinking to about half that margin, 10 points, in Wisconsin.
Underscoring Trump’s challenges in Minnesota, Biden also leads there, by 11 points, in trust to handle crime and safety, while in Wisconsin the two are tied on this issue.
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