Enthusiasm for voting in Wisconsin

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School Poll, Public

Here is a review of Marquette Law School polling from August 2019 to August 2020 in Wisconsin. All polls are state-wide samples of registered voters, with about 800 respondents per poll (1000 in Feb.) and a margin of error of about +/- 4 percentage points. Details of each survey and full methodology statement are available at https://law.marquette.edu/poll/category/results-and-data/

Conclusion

There is very little difference in enthusiasm between Biden and Trump voters. Those who strongly approval of Trump’s handling of his job as president are a bit more “very enthusiastic” (about 8 points) than are those who strongly disapprove. Democrats are a a little more likely to say they are “very enthusiastic” than are Republicans, by about 5 points.

These results fluctuate modestly over time.

There is little evidence to support a clear enthusiasm advantage for either party.

Enthusiasm over time

I measure enthusiasm for voting in the November election, not for the particular candidate. I focus on those who say they are “very enthusiastic” to vote as the definition of enthusiasm.

The question wording is “How enthusiastic are you about voting in this November’s elections? Would you say you are very, somewhat, not too, or not at all enthusiastic?” This question has been asked in all MULawPoll surveys conducted since January 2020.

Enthusiasm was quite high in January and February but dropped off in March and declined further in May. This may be due to the distracion of the coronavirus epidemic or because the primary season drove up enthusiasm which then declined post-primary. Enthusiasm grew in August but has not reached the high levels of January or February.

Enthusiasm by poll, Jan. 2020-Aug. 2020
Poll Dates Very Somewhat Not too Not at all n
1/8-12/20 70 22 5 3 800
2/19-23/20 73 18 3 5 1000
3/24-29/20 67 21 7 5 813
5/3-7/20 58 25 8 7 811
6/14-18/20 59 26 6 7 805
8/4-9/20 62 20 8 9 801

Enthusiasm by presidential vote choice

Enthusiasm by presidential vote choice combining all 2020 polls finds no difference in enthusiasm for voting by candidate choice.

Enthusiasm by vote choice, Jan. 2020-Aug. 2020
Vote choice Very Somewhat Not too Not at all n
Joe Biden 69 21 5 4 2398
Donald Trump 68 22 5 4 2204

Looking at monthly variation in enthusiasm shows that enthusiasm is equal for supporters of both candidates, and declined equally in March and May from the high levels of January and February. June showed a small Biden advantage and August a small Trump advantage.

Enthusiasm by vote choice, January-August 2020
Poll dates Vote choice Very Somewhat Not too Not at all
1/8-12/20 Joe Biden 72 22 3 2
1/8-12/20 Donald Trump 73 20 4 3
2/19-23/20 Joe Biden 76 18 3 3
2/19-23/20 Donald Trump 74 18 3 3
3/24-29/20 Joe Biden 69 20 6 4
3/24-29/20 Donald Trump 69 20 7 3
5/3-7/20 Joe Biden 64 24 6 5
5/3-7/20 Donald Trump 63 24 9 3
6/14-18/20 Joe Biden 68 22 5 5
6/14-18/20 Donald Trump 59 30 5 4
8/4-9/20 Joe Biden 65 19 7 7
8/4-9/20 Donald Trump 68 21 5 6

Enthusiasm by approval of Trump as president

Enthusiasm varies between those who approve strongly or only somewhat of the job Trump is doing as president, and similalry between those who disapprove strongly or somewhat.

Those who only somewhat approve or somewhat disapprove are markedly less enthusiastic about voting than those who strongly approve or strongly disapprove. A significant number of voters “somewhat approve” of Trump’s handling of his job, about twice as many as “somewhat disapprove.” Lower enthusiasm among this “somewhat approve” group could be a risk for Trump’s efforts to mobilize all his potential voters.

Among those with strong opinions of Trump’s performance as president, there is a small enthusiasm advantage among those who strongly approve over those who strongly disapprove, a potential weakness for the opposition to Trump.

Enthusiasm by Trump approval, Jan. 2020-Aug. 2020
Trump approval Very Somewhat Not too Not at all n
Strongly approve 80 16 2 2 1621
Somewhat approve 35 42 13 8 730
Somewhat disapprove 38 35 11 15 335
Strongly disapprove 72 17 5 5 2172

Over the winter and spring of 2020 there has been variation in the enthusiasm gap between those who strongly approve of Trump and those who strongly disapprove. The gap was larger in January and especially in May, but was smaller in February and March.

This variation, and the combined data for all 2020 polls, supports the conclusion that Trump’s strongest supporters are a bit, by six percentage points or so, more enthusiastic about voting than are his strongest detractors, though this has varied modestly over time.

Enthusiasm by Trump approval by wave, January-August, 2020
Poll dates Trump approval Very Somewhat Not too Not at all
1/8-12/20 Strongly approve 85 13 1 1
1/8-12/20 Somewhat approve 40 40 11 7
1/8-12/20 Somewhat disapprove 51 35 9 4
1/8-12/20 Strongly disapprove 76 19 4 1
2/19-23/20 Strongly approve 84 11 3 1
2/19-23/20 Somewhat approve 38 43 5 12
2/19-23/20 Somewhat disapprove 49 33 6 8
2/19-23/20 Strongly disapprove 80 14 3 2
3/24-29/20 Strongly approve 77 18 3 2
3/24-29/20 Somewhat approve 36 38 14 9
3/24-29/20 Somewhat disapprove 48 29 15 8
3/24-29/20 Strongly disapprove 74 15 6 5
5/3-7/20 Strongly approve 78 17 3 1
5/3-7/20 Somewhat approve 26 46 23 4
5/3-7/20 Somewhat disapprove 26 45 7 21
5/3-7/20 Strongly disapprove 67 20 5 7
6/14-18/20 Strongly approve 70 25 2 2
6/14-18/20 Somewhat approve 35 45 14 6
6/14-18/20 Somewhat disapprove 34 34 10 22
6/14-18/20 Strongly disapprove 67 20 5 7
8/4-9/20 Strongly approve 82 12 2 3
8/4-9/20 Somewhat approve 34 42 11 12
8/4-9/20 Somewhat disapprove 18 33 20 26
8/4-9/20 Strongly disapprove 67 16 8 8

Enthusiasm by party identification

Enthusiasm varies across partisanship by strength of identification and by direction of party attachment.

The strongest partisans are the most enthusiastic, with Democrats holding a slight edge over Republicans. Enthusiasm drops as we move to independents who lean to a party and drops again for independents with no partisan lean. Those who lean Republican are slightly more enthusiastic than those who lean Democratic.

Enthusiasm by party identification, Jan.-Aug. 2020
Party ID Very Somewhat Not too Not at all n
Rep 69 21 5 4 1492
Lean Rep 61 24 8 6 785
Ind 45 25 10 16 429
Lean Dem 60 25 7 7 809
Dem 74 19 4 3 1438

The net partisan edge, combining independents who lean to a party with full partisans is small.

Enthusiasm by party identification (including leaners as partisans), Jan. 2020-Aug. 2020
Party w/leaners Very Somewhat Not too Not at all n
Republican 66 22 6 5 2277
Independent 45 25 10 16 429
Democrat 69 21 5 4 2248

Variation in enthusiasm by party from January through August has been modest. There is little evidence of either party having an advantage on enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm by Party w/leaners, January 8-12, 2020
Poll dates Party w/leaners Very Somewhat Not too Not at all
1/8-12/20 Republican 71 21 5 2
2/19-23/20 Republican 73 19 4 3
3/24-29/20 Republican 68 19 8 4
5/3-7/20 Republican 62 23 9 5
6/14-18/20 Republican 57 29 6 7
8/4-9/20 Republican 64 20 7 8
1/8-12/20 Independent 53 22 11 11
2/19-23/20 Independent 55 13 4 22
3/24-29/20 Independent 51 24 13 5
5/3-7/20 Independent 32 40 12 11
6/14-18/20 Independent 42 27 12 18
8/4-9/20 Independent 37 29 11 23
1/8-12/20 Democrat 73 22 3 1
2/19-23/20 Democrat 78 18 2 2
3/24-29/20 Democrat 68 22 5 5
5/3-7/20 Democrat 62 24 6 8
6/14-18/20 Democrat 66 24 5 4
8/4-9/20 Democrat 65 18 8 7

There is little evidence to suport a clear enthusiasm advantage for either party.


 

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