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Bernie Sanders top choice among voters, Democratic candidates lead Trump in UW poll

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top five Democratic presidential candidates have a slight lead against President Donald Trump, according to a new University of Wisconsin-Madison poll.

This year, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Elections Research Center (ERC) conducted polls in three Midwestern battleground states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

The focus of these states comes as all of them voted for Democratic presidential candidates going back to at least 1992 then flipped to the Republicans in 2016 to help President Trump win.

In Wisconsin’s general election matchups including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all show a slight lead over Donald Trump, according to the poll.

Biden 45% v. Trump 45%, Buttigieg 45% v. Trump 43%, Klobuchar 44% v. Trump 43%, Sanders 46% v. Trump 44% and Warren 46% v. Trump 44%.

The UW results follow a Quinnipiac University Poll, which also focused on the same three battleground states that delivered a victory to President Trump in 2016 by narrow margins.

The results were much different as Quinnipiac found Trump leading in head-to-head matchups against the top Democratic candidates in Wisconsin. 

The UW ERC poll immediately followed the New Hampshire primary, which was conducted in the field from February 11-20 with 1,000 participants, 936 registered voters.

The survey was conducted online by YouGov and data was weighted to reflect the census demographics in Wisconsin. 

The breakdown of the sample size is 35% Democrat, 30% Republican, 27% independent, and 7% other or not sure.


Bernie Sanders was the clear choice for those surveyed showing his lead against his Democratic opponents with 28.8% support. Following Sanders was Bloomberg 13.2%, Biden 12.9%, Buttigieg 12.2%, Warren 11.9%, Klobuchar 9.1%, and 8.2% don’t know.

The ERC poll was co-sponsored by the Wisconsin State Journal and editor Matthew Defour said he’s pleased to have another statewide poll to reference throughout this election, joining the longstanding Marquette Law School Poll.

“I think the key thing about polling in any state or in the country is that more polling is better,” said Defour.


In Wisconsin, Trump has a job rating of 44% approve, 53% disapprove, which is within the margin or error compared to the recent Marquette University Law School poll that found 48% approve, 49% disapprove.


When asking participants how much attention they are paying to the election campaign, 46% say a lot, 34% say some, 14% say a little, and 7% say none at all. 

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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