The New York Times / Siena College Battleground Polls: Michigan and Wisconsin

biden trump wi mi
  • Michigan: Biden 48% – Trump 40%
  • Wisconsin: Biden 51% – Trump 41%
  • From: Biden 48% – Trump 43%, September 12th
  • Voters in Both Say 2-to-1 Trump Got COVID-19 By Not Taking Adequate Precautions; Majority in Both Don’t Trust Administration for Accurate Info on President’s Health; Plurality in Both Support Barrett’s SCOTUS Nomination

Loudonville, NY. President Donald Trump carried Michigan in 2016 by three-tenths of a percentage point and he now trails former Vice President Joe Biden by eight points, 48-40 percent, with four weeks until election day. In Wisconsin, Biden has extended the five-point lead he held in September to now 10 points, 51-41 percent, according to The New York Times/Siena College polls of likely Michigan and Wisconsin voters released today.

mich table

“In 2016, Michigan voters, supported Trump by fewer than 11,000 votes out of nearly five million cast, making him the first Republican presidential candidate to win it since 1988. This year, Michiganders appear to be heading in the opposite direction. Biden has a 17-point lead among independent voters and is doing a better job holding on to Democrats than Trump is holding Republicans,” said Don Levy, Director of the Siena College Research Institute. “While Trump has a slight two-point edge with men, Biden has a solid 17-point lead with women, and he also has a 13-point lead with voters 65 and older.”

“Trump and Biden are running even among white voters, but Biden has a commanding 86-12 percent lead with Black voters,” Levy said. “Only eight percent of voters say that they may still change their minds, while 92 percent say they’re locked into their choice, narrowing the number of persuadable voters.”

Biden has a 54-42 percent favorability rating, compared to Trump’s negative 46-50 percent favorability rating. Vice President Mike Pence’s favorability rating is 46-45 percent, almost the same as Senator Kamala Harris’ 46-42 percent favorability rating.

“Overall, voters have comparable views of the vice presidential candidates, although independents view Harris favorably and Pence unfavorably,” Levy said. “And while Trump is four points under water on his favorability rating, Biden is 12 points positive.

“By a 61-30 percent margin, voters say the President’s lack of taking adequate precautions is to blame for his getting COVID-19, a view held by more than 90 percent of Democrats, more than two-thirds of independents, and even a quarter of Republicans. Republicans are alone – among all demographic groups – in their view that the President did take adequate precautions,” Levy said. “Although 86 percent of Republicans say they do trust information about the President’s health from the Trump Administration, 90 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independents do not.”

In the race for the U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Gary Peters and Republican John James are locked in a neck-and-neck battle, with Peters having the support of 43 percent of voters and James the support of
42 percent. Peters has a 47-35 percent favorability rating. James’ favorability rating 45-35 percent.

“As Republicans seek to hold control of the United States Senate, they appear to have a new target in Peters. With a month to go, James is virtually even with Peters, even as Biden holds a significant lead over Trump. James leads by six points with men and Peters leads by eight points with women,” Levy said.

wisconsin table

“In the last month, Biden has doubled his five-point lead and now holds a significant 10-point lead, 51-41 percent, having moved above the ‘magic 50 percent’ mark,” Levy said. “While Trump holds a seven-point lead with men, up from two points last month, Biden leads with women by a commanding 24 points, 58-34 percent, up from 13 points.

“Biden continues to maintain two-to-one leads with both non-white voters and whites with a college degree, and he’s cut into Trump’s lead with whites without a college degree and now Biden only trails by six points with those voters, down from 11 points,” Levy said. “In the Milwaukee suburbs, a previous five-point lead has been flipped and now Biden leads there, 46-41 percent.”

Biden has a 55-42 percent favorability rating, up from 51-45 percent in September. Trump has a 44-54 percent favorability rating, little changed from 45-53 percent.

“Biden, 13 points positive in his favorability rating, continues to be viewed more favorably than Trump, whose favorability rating is 10 points negative,” Levy said.

“Voters do not trust the Trump Administration is providing accurate information about the President’s health by 56-40 percent. Distrust is near unanimous among Democrats and at 62 percent with independents, however, Republicans do trust they’re getting accurate information 86-12 percent,” Levy said. “By a larger 62-30 percent, voters – other than Republicans – say that Trump’s contraction of coronavirus was a result of his not taking adequate precautions.

“While by a small 44-39 percent plurality, Wisconsin voters support Barrett’s nomination as a Supreme Court Justice, they are nearly evenly divided on whether the Senate should vote on her nomination before election day, or only if Trump wins re-election,” Levy said.

This New York Times/Siena College survey of Michigan was conducted October 6-9, 2020 by telephone calls in English to 614 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points. This New York Times/Siena College survey of Wisconsin was conducted October 8-11, 2020 by telephone calls in English to 789 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points. Calls were made to a stratified weighted sample of voters from the L-2 Voter list via both land and cell phones. The data was weighted by party, age, race/ethnicity, education, region, gender and voter likelihood, a computed score that combines voter history, stated voter likelihood and modeled turnout by respondent. Polling support for this project provided by Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College, M. Davis and Co., Reconnaissance Market Research, and The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social, and cultural research. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, please call Don Levy at 518-944-0482. Survey cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at: For additional methodological information, click here.