Former Vice President Joe Biden. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Former Vice President Joe Biden has widened his lead over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin and narrowly leads the president in Ohio, according to a pair of polls out Wednesday from two key swing states in the Midwest.
In Wisconsin, where Trump eked out a narrow victory in 2016 to flip the state from blue to red, Marquette University Law School poll found the former vice president up 8 percentage points over Trump, with 49 percent support to Trump’s 41 percent.
In Ohio, a state Trump carried by 8 points in 2016 and which has voted for the eventual presidential winner for half a century, a new poll from Quinnipiac University found 46 of respondents favor Biden, compared to 45 percent who favor the president.
Both surveys underscore that Biden’s ascendance in Midwest states that will be key to either candidate’s victory in November. Both Wisconsin and Ohio were won by former President Barack Obama in 2012 before flipping to Trump in 2016.
The two polls build on a raft of national polling in recent weeks showing Biden with a growing lead over Trump as the president grapples with responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the ensuing economic recession and mass protests for racial justice. One such poll released Wednesday morning showed the former vice president with a commanding 14-point lead over Trump nationwide. The Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Biden a 10-point national lead.
The latest numbers come as both men begin to ease back onto the physical campaign trail after a monthslong hiatus amid the pandemic. Last weekend Trump held his first rally since March and began limited travel again in May. Biden has also begun to venture out of his Delaware home for small in-person gatherings.
That the gap between Trump and Biden has grown in Wisconsin is especially notable considering that the last four Marquette polls showed a narrow race of no more than four points in head-to-head matchups. Biden’s lead in the Marquette poll is up five points relative to last month, when the same survey showed Biden with a 3 point lead. In February — before Biden revived his floundering campaign to lock up the Democratic nomination — Trump and Biden were tied at 46 percent.
The Marquette survey found that Trump’s support among Republicans has decreased 10 points since May, from 93 percent to 83 percent, and that independents flipped to prefer Biden over Trump 38-30.
Both polls found Trump’s approval rating underwater in both states, with Trump’s overall job approval dipping for the third straight month in Wisconsin to 45 percent, with 51 percent disapproval. The Quinnipiac poll showed a significant split in the approval/disapproval ratings of Trump versus Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine — 44-53 percent and 75-19 percent, respectively.
The Quinnipiac Poll surveyed 1,139 self-identified registered voters in Ohio from June 18-22, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The Marquette Law School poll interviewed 805 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone from June 14-18. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.