The Purple Highway- Round 2- Wisconsin and Florida April 2020

Recently I looked at April 2020 Presidential election polling in two highly competitive swing states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, where Vice President Biden had solid leads over Donald Trump despite Hilary Clinton’s narrow losses in 2016.

In this article, I continue reviewing other swing states – called Purple by the pundits – this time Wisconsin and Florida. It’s useful, however, to put the trends in national polls between Biden and Trump in context.

YOU GOV M.4-5 1224 RV 45 42
IPSOS M.4-5 1015 RV 43 41
CHANGE R. M.1-3 1489 RV 47 44
FIREHOUSE A.28-M.5 758 LV 51 45
MONMOUTH A.30-M.4 739 RV 50 41
RMG A.30-M.2 1200 RV 46 39
MORNING C. A.27-M.3 31,117 RV 46 42

Between April 27th and May 5th, seven national polls showed Joe Biden with an average lead of nearly five points, 46.8 to 42%. These polls include the public’s absorption of the expanded media attention to the sexual assault allegation against the former Vice-President and his response. Polling in Wisconsin and Florida ended by the third week of April and did not include references to the Tara Reade allegations.


Donald Trump won Wisconsin by nearly 23,000 votes in 2016, about eight-tenths of one percent.

wisconsin 2016 results

Exit Polls in Wisconsin in 2016 showed that the proportion of nonwhites in the vote was 14%, the lowest of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida. In that election, whites were 86% of the vote and Trump won that vote 53-42%. Hilary Clinton won the nonwhite vote 76-21%.

wisconsin exit polls 2016

Here are the results of Wisconsin 2020 Polling. I included a  Marquette Law School Poll completed on March 29, 2020.

MARQUETTE Mch.24-29 813 RV 48 45
HART A.6-8 301 LV 48 47
HODAS A.13-15 600 LV 50 45
IPSOS A.15-20 645 RV 43 40
PPP A.20-21 1415 RV 50 45

There are five polls and Biden’s lead averages 3.4 points,  47.8-44.4%. The leads in the polls are either within or very close to the margin of error in each poll, indicating Wisconsin right now is extremely competitive.

Public Policy Polling, in an April 20-21 poll, included a question about who the respondents in the poll voted for in 2016, compared to their current preference. About 8% of 2016 Trump voters said they would vote for Biden, very similar to the same response from voters in Pennsylvania(8%) and Michigan(10%).

PPP April 2020 Wisconsin biden trump dropoff

PPP’s sample in the poll of 1415 Registered Voters was 12% nonwhite, or about 170 respondents, compared to the 14% of 3047 voters in the 2016 Exit Poll. PPP did not provide a demographic breakdown of the responses to its April 2020 Wisconsin poll, probably because a sample size of @170 would contain a  margin of error in the range of plus or minus 7-8 points.


Donald Trump won Florida by about 113,000 votes, or 1.2%, in 2016, out of 9.4 million votes cast. 3d-party and write-in candidates took 3% of the vote. Florida has 29 Electoral College votes; Pennsylvania 20, Michigan 14, and Wisconsin 10.

florida 2016 results

The Exit Polls in Florida show the vote was 62% white, and Trump won that vote by a large margin, 64-32%. The nonwhite vote is substantial in Florida, 38%, and Hilary Clinton won that vote 71-24%.

florida exit polls 2016

Here are the results of 4 Florida polls completed in April:

U.Nth FLA. M.31-A.4 3,244 RV 46 40
ST.PETE’S A.16-17 5,659 RV 48 48
QUINNIPIAC A.16-20 1385 RV 46 42
FOX NEWS A.18-21 1004 RV 46 43

Vice-President Biden leads in these four polls by a combined average of 46.5-43.25%, or 3.2%.

Both Fox News and Quinnipiac provided demographic breakdowns for their polls. Here is Fox News, conducted April 18-21 among 1004 Registered Voters.

florida fox news 2020 biden trump demographic

Here is Quinnipiac, conducted April 16-20 among 1385 Registered Voters:

White Black Hispanic
Biden 40 73 46
Trump 52 8 38

The Fox and Quinnipiac Polls shows Biden doing  better among whites, losing in the Fox Poll 54-36, and the Q Poll  52-40%, versus Trump’s huge margin in 2016 vs. Hilary Clinton, 64-32%. Biden continues to win by  gigantic margins among blacks, 80-10% in Fox, 73-8% in Quinnipiac. Biden’s margin among Hispanics in Fox is 53-35%, in Quinnipiac 46-38%, both smaller than Clinton’s margin among Hispanics in 2016, where she beat Trump 62-35%.

The Trump campaign will be extremely competitive in Florida and Wisconsin. Biden’s April leads are just barely over 3 points each, close or at the margin of error in those polls.

Next, I will look at North Carolina and Arizona. Hilary lost North Carolina by four points, 50-46, and Arizona by 3 1/2 points, in 2016. But the Democrats have made gains in both states since then and recent polling bodes well for the Democrats.Although there have not been Presidential polls in Arizona since March, there are many  polls about the competitive US Senate race there that can be added to Presidential polls to provide insight.



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