New Poll Shows Tight Races In Targeted Suburban Districts Around Milwaukee

Democrats hold small lead on generic ballot 47 to 44

Independents prefer generic Republican candidate

Biden up 51 to 45 over President Trump

September 9, 2020

A new poll published today shows a tightening Presidential race within a hyper-charged political environment in southeast Wisconsin. The poll was published by the Jobs First Coalition, a “not-for-profit advocacy group devoted to making the creation and retention of family-supporting jobs the top priority of government and community leaders in Wisconsin.” The poll was carried out between September 1 – 3, with 500 likely voters surveyed from five targeted legislative districts surrounding the city of Milwaukee. Public Opinion Strategies, a firm based in Virginia with a long history of polling in Wisconsin, conducted the polling and research for the Jobs First Coalition.

While the sample size of 500 likely voters across five separate legislative districts is on the small side, there are some interesting trends and themes that emerge from the research.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump 51 – 45 among likely voters. A recent Fox News poll had the President at 42 and the Real Clear Politics Polling average for Trump in Wisconsin was at 43 before this poll. Biden’s Real Clear Politics polling average in Wisconsin is 50%. According to the POS poll, the die hard supporters of each party are enthused about the election. The President is performing well with Independents overall, leading among Independent men 55% to 40% and older Independents 63% to 37%. Candidate Biden is leading with Independent women, 55% to 41%, and doing well with Independents between the ages of 18 to 54.

The top priority of Wisconsinites, no surprise here, remains COVID-19 at 28% and restarting the economy is second at 18%. The next two, however, may catch some experts and pundits off guard. The third most important issue for likely voters in southeast Wisconsin is fighting crime and lawlessness at 16%. “Social justice for the oppressed and minorities” comes in fourth at 12%.

Given all of the media attention the Jacob Blake shooting has garnered and the subsequent protests and rioting, some might be surprised that social justice wasn’t a higher priority for voters.

Support for the Governor and the Legislature “to prioritize responding to COVID-19” was the top priority of Democrats at 49% and Independents at 24%. That makes COVID-19 the top priority for both Democrats and Independents. Only 7% of Republicans surveyed believed COVID-19 should be the top priority.

For Republicans, the top issue facing the state is crime and lawlessness at 34%, followed by “rebooting the economy” at 29%.


For Independents, the next priority after COVID-19 is the economy at 21%.

Given that COVID-19 is the clear top priority for Wisconsin voters, a follow-up question asking participants if they think businesses and schools can reopen safely provides some timely insight.

A majority of respondents, 55% to be exact, “believe that businesses and schools can take precautions, operate safely and be open.” Many school districts around the state have just made their initial decision on whether to begin in-person, on-site learning. ¬†MacIver covered the last second decision by some districts to cancel in-person, on-site instruction, leaving some parents to scramble in search of better learning environments or to make arrangements so an adult would be home with their child.

This poll shows that most want schools open and they believe reopening schools can be done safely.



MacIver will continue to update this story with more insights and data from the poll that you need to know. Check back at for more analysis throughout the day.