UW survey: Sanders leading Wisconsin primary race, Democrats beating Trump
Madison, Wis. (CBS 58) – The first survey of battleground states by the UW-Madison Elections Research Center shows Sen. Bernie Sanders with a sizable lead in Wisconsin over the democratic field and all major democratic candidates over President Donald Trump in hypothetical head-to-head matchups in the Badger State.
In addition to Wisconsin, the survey also examined voters in Pennsylvania and Michigan. All three states were considered a “blue wall” for democrats in 2016, but then-candidate Trump was able to flip all three into his win column, sealing his victory over Hillary Clinton.
The three states are considered swing states in the 2020 race and essential for either President Trump’s re-election or a victory by the eventual democratic nominee.
The presidential primary in Wisconsin is on April 7, more than a month after Super Tuesday – when several states vote for their preferred candidate and a potential make-or-break moment for many competitors.
In Wisconsin, Sen. Sanders has a double-digit lead over all other candidates with 30 percent of registered voters who plan to vote in the primary saying they will vote for the Vermont senator. Tied at 13 percent are former Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor of South Bend, Ind. Pete Buttigieg both have 12 percent of support while Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar trails all candidates at 9 percent. 11 percent responded ‘not sure/other’ in the survey focused on Wisconsin.
A similar picture is presented in Michigan and Pennsylvania where Sanders leads at 25 percent in both states. Michigan holds its primary on March 10 and Pennsylvania on April 28.
“Sanders has the most committed bloc of democratic voters,” said Barry Burden, the director for the UW Elections Research Center and a political science professor at the university. “Other candidates I think have a looser grip on their supporters and it may be that there are supporters who are shopping around for a more moderate candidate or more mainstream candidate.”
The survey also revealed a sharp racial and generational divide among candidates. Biden holds a sizable lead with black voters with 35 percent of support from that group in all three states. Meanwhile, Sanders has 36 percent of support from Hispanic voters and he tops all candidates with 27 percent of white voters.
“The Latino population in Wisconsin is actually bigger and growing faster than the black population so that also helps Sanders here,” Burden told CBS 58. “So there is definitely as racial-ethnic aspect to this and you could see it as the candidates have moved from one state to another where the demographics are a bit different.”
On gender, the disparity is not as stark, but Sanders leads in both categories with 27 percent of men and 26 percent of women supporting him.
With age, Sanders largest lead is with voters age 18-29 with 55 percent of support from that group. But that support diminishes with older age groups, going down as far as just 9 percent with voters 65 and over while Mike Bloomberg holds 26 percent support in that age range.
In hypothetical head-to-head matchups with President Trump, all five candidates either beat or tie with the incumbent in all three states, albeit close races in most cases.
“All signs point to a very close general election in November,” Burden said. “It suggests all three states are back on the table this time around and could be won by either party.”
In Wisconsin, the president did not beat any of the democratic opponents in these matchups.
The survey notes a key finding in potential turnout that could be crucial to deciding the election.
“Voters who did not turn out in the 2016 presidential election are especially favorable to Democratic candidates in 2020. Combining the three states, 82% to 89% of those who voted for Clinton in 2016 plan to vote for the Democrat in 2020. A higher share of those who voted for Trump (89% to 93%) plan to vote for him again in 2020. However, respondents who did not vote in 2016 favor each of the Democrats over Trump by double-digit margins.”
The survey was conducted between Feb. 11-20 with sample sizes of 1,300 in Michigan, 1,300 in Pennsylvania and 1,000 in Wisconsin. The margin of error in this survey is three to four percentage points.
The survey will be conducted two more times before the General Election: in June once all primaries have concluded and then again in October.