Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes are within reach of Republican Donald J. Trump as he climbs to a virtual tie with Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Badger State in the latest Breitbart News Network/Gravis Marketing survey.
The poll of 1,102 registered voters in Wisconsin finds Trump just three points back, right on the poll’s margin of error of three percent. Trump is at 43 percent compared to Clinton’s 46 percent in the survey conducted on Oct. 4, meaning the race is a statistical tie.
The tightening of the Wisconsin race comes as U.S. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan hits the trail on Saturday to campaign with Trump at Ryan’s “1st Congressional District Republican Party of Wisconsin Fall Fest” at the Walworth County Fairgrounds. A source close to the planning of the event said Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. joins the event as the guest of Trump. Several other senior Wisconsin Republicans, like the state’s GOP governor and former Trump rival Scott Walker–who has since endorsed Trump over Clinton for president–and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) will be present as well.
Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell told Breitbart News that the 2016 election is still very volatile, so to better measure voter presidential preferences, respondents were asked the question of who they would vote for twice. The first time came in the middle of the survey after some attitudinal questions about the respondents’ thoughts on the candidates and general mood, and then at the end of the survey after being asked about several key issues in the 2016 race before asking demographic questions.
In the first asking, Clinton led Trump with 48 percent to his 40 percent, Libertarian Gary Johnson was the choice of four percent, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein came in at one percent, he said. Johnson and Stein were unchanged. In the second, however, with the same sample, Trump moved up to 43 percent and Clinton dropped to 46 percent.
Caddell said the reason in the second asking Trump picked up five points is that the voters in Wisconsin, like elsewhere, are not settled.
“It is so important to remember, the voters, the people are not settled like the pundits or the candidates are settled,” Caddell said. “They are still getting to their decision point. These are the decisions that come to a head inside the voting booth or wherever they make up their mind.”
But, after having to consider questions about the economy, the U.S. handing over control of the Internet, bringing in more refugees or the performance of Obamacare, voters moved from supporting the former first lady to supporting the New York City developer, he said.
When they were asked if Obamacare was a “success,” 50 percent said no and 39 percent said it was a success.
Wisconsin voters were asked: The United States will relinquish its administrative control over the Internet to a private organization where other countries, which could include China, Russia and Iran, will have influence for the first time on the management of the Internet. Do you think this is a good idea or not? Seventy percent of the respondents said it was a bad idea and only five percent said it was a good idea.
Caddell said this question about the control of the Internet exposes how out of touch the Republican leadership in Washington, D.C. have become.
“If this had been raised, if this had been made into an issue, it would have would have helped every Republican and it would have hurt every Democrat–but, once again, like everything else–they caved on it,” he said.
“These are what I call ‘saliency’ issues,” Caddell said. “There are a lot latent attitudes and when they get sparked they become salient, more important, like with the refugees–if Trump was smart, he’d see–Americans are for his postion and they are against Obama and Clinton’s position on refugees.”
Badger State voters were asked: Hillary Clinton’s supporters at the Refugee Council want to increase the number of refugees coming into the United States in 2017 even more, to 200,000, and Hillary wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees in that total from 10,000 in 2016 to 65,000 in 2017. Do you approve or disapprove of this increase?
Wisconsin voters disapprove of this plan 62 percent to 25 percent in this poll.
Trump needs to make the refugee issue a front and center part of the discussion about what is going wrong in the country, just like he did with trade and the economy, so that Clinton cannot any longer fail to mention these issues, Caddell said.
Caddell, who is a Fox News Insider, said both nationally and in Wisconsin the only way Clinton wins is if she makes it a head-to-head contest between her and Trump on personality concerns. But, if Trump can make the election turn on the issues–a referendum, so to speak–voters will see that he is lined up where they are and make him the president, he said.
Pete Meachum, Wisconsin state director for Trump’s campaign, told Breitbart News the election will turn on the economy.
“Wisconsin’s workers want to win for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton can’t connect with middle class voters because they simply cannot trust her,” he said.
“Donald Trump is the only candidate that will put Wisconsin first by creating jobs, restoring law and order and bringing prosperity back after eight years of failed economic policies that have plagued this country,” he said.
Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader Scott L. Fitzgerald (R.-Juneau) told Breitbart News he is convinced Wisconsin is in play for Trump from the field reports he is receiving from other state senators and candidates.
“This time around, there are a lot of targeted Senate seats,” he said. “As we do our senate polling across the state, his numbers kept getting strong and then it was just a matter of time.”
“I guess we were all caught off guard, when we didn’t see that the rural areas of Wisconsin, up north and out west, would break as hard as they did for Donald Trump, but we’ve been watching it,” he said.
People who voted for Ted Cruz April 15 in the primary are starting to face the reality of having to choose between Trump and Clinton, he said. Wisconsin was in many ways one of the ground zeros–along with Colorado, where Trump is also surging–of the so-called now essentially defunct “Never Trump movement” during the GOP presidential primaries. It was the last state that Trump didn’t win, where Cruz made his last stand. But now, Fitzgerald and others tell Breitbart News, Wisconsin is drifting into Trump’s corner slowly but surely in the final weeks of the campaign.
“For Republicans, it is a clear choice,” Fitzgerald said.
Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based firm that conducted the poll, said that Trump may shock the political world with a potential Wisconsin win on Nov. 8.
“Everyone treats Wisconsin as a lock for the Democrats, but Gov. Scott Walker is a very controversial Republican won there in 2010, his recall in 2012 and was reelected in 2014,” Kaplan said.
“In the presidential races, the Democrats have had an easier time, but to say that and ignore GOP wins statewide,’ Kaplan added.
In 2012, President Barack Obama beat his GOP opponent Mitt Romney with 53 percent of the vote to Romney’s 46 percent, he said. In 2008, it was not as close when Obama beat Sen. John S. McCain III (R.-Ariz.) with 56 percent to the former fighter pilot’s 42 percent.
The poll was conducted with random automated phone calls. Results were weighted to match a proprietary turnout model. The poll carries a margin of error of three percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.