University of Wisconsin’s Elections Research Center conducted polls in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania that put Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump for the presidential election — Trump won these states in the 2016 presidential election. 

The ERC conducted the polls in partnership with the Wisconsin State Journal between July 27 and Aug. 6. They found Biden leading by six, four and nine percentage points in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania respectively. 

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UW professor and ERC Director Barry Burden said in an email to The Badger Herald that Biden’s recent lead is partially due to voters disapproving of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and protests against police brutality and systemic racism. 

“More voters are dissatisfied than satisfied with his handling of protests over police racism, and more voters blame Trump than anyone else for the spread of the coronavirus,” Burden said. “As a result, his overall approval rating has fallen since the last survey was conducted in February.”

Burden said in a UW News release that both campaigns should continue to pay attention to these battleground states. Notably, a late-October 2016 Marquette Law School poll found Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump by six percent. 

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But, the 2020 election is still about three months away. If the focus of the public shifts to other issues, Biden’s lead could erode, Burden said. 

One surprising conclusion the data found was that Trump and Biden are roughly tied among white voters, Burden said.

“Biden is sure to win a majority of the Black, Hispanic and other non-white votes, so Trump needs to attract more white voters to reassemble his winning coalition from four years ago,” Burden said. 

A recent Tufts analysis ranked Wisconsin first in the ability of young voters to influence the presidential election, and Burden said the survey clearly showed young people overwhelmingly favor Biden over Trump.

“Turnout of young people will be important to determining whether Biden is able to hold the lead,” Burden said.

Students can find out more about voting on campus at vote.wisc.edu.