As Trump and Biden visit Wisconsin, experts say Biden’s likelier to win the state – how could that impact the election?
MADISON, Wis. – On Friday, for the first time during the 2020 election, both presidential candidates spoke in Wisconsin.
While Trump held a rally in Green Bay, Biden spoke in front of a smaller group of supporters near Milwaukee. Political experts say both candidates are doing what they can to land the swing state.
“Neither campaign is giving up on the state or taking it for granted,” said Barry Burden, Professor of Political Science and Director of UW’s Election Research Center. “Wisconsin is one of the lynchpin states. There are 5 or 6 states that are really at the center of the Electoral College battle between the campaigns.”
Burden says most polls have Biden anywhere from 4 points to 17 points ahead of President Trump in Wisconsin, with UW’s poll putting the Democratic Nominee 8 points ahead.
“I think Joe Biden learned a lesson from four years ago,” said David Canon, a Political Science Professor at UW-Madison. “Where Hillary Clinton famously didn’t come to Wisconsin at all and kind of took it for granted.”
While Biden certainly hasn’t visited the state in person as much as President Trump, Burden says the Biden campaign is doing much better financially, which has led to more ads being placed on various electronic mediums.
Canon says while many voters have made up their minds as to who they’re voting for, Trump’s rallies have been a key way to ignite his base.
“No one goes to those rallies who’s undecided,” Canon said. “They’re all Trump supporters. The idea is to get people fired up and make sure they’re going to vote.”
Prior to 2016, Wisconsin hadn’t gone blue since 1984. Canon says the big change in voter habits happened in rural areas, which lost their Democratic backing over time.
“There were big parts of the state that Barack Obama carried both in 2012 and in 2008,” Canon said. “There were in rural areas that swung 20-25 points to Donald Trump (in 2016).”
Canon says while it’s like Biden will carry Dane and Milwaukee Counties, with Trump taking Washington, Waukesha, and Ozaukee counties, it will be tossup areas like the Fox River Valley that could decide who wins the state.
Other factors that could influence Wisconsin’s election day results are the speed in which absentee votes are counted. Canon and Burden both say polls have shown early voters to favor Biden, with those waiting until the day of the election favoring Trump.
But with other key states like Pennsylvania, Florida and even Georgia still in play, Canon says it’s possible for the winner of Wisconsin to still lose the election, and vice versa.
“Trump does have a path to victory without winning Wisconsin,” Canon said. “It certainly helps him a lot if he does, but it’s not one of those absolutely critical states.”
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