Poll putting Biden 17 points ahead in Wisconsin met with incredulity

    DUBUQUE, IOWA - APRIL 30: Guests wait for the arrival of Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden for a campaign event at the Grand River Center on April 30, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. Biden is on his first visit to the state since announcing that he was officially seeking the Democratic nomination for president. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    DUBUQUE, IOWA - APRIL 30: Guests wait for the arrival of Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden for a campaign event at the Grand River Center on April 30, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. Biden is on his first visit to the state since announcing that he was officially seeking the Democratic nomination for president. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    A poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News raised eyebrows in Wisconsin as it showed Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 17%, a far greater margin than most other polls have shown.

    The poll was immediately panned on social media Wednesday morning by many conservative and liberal responders as wildly out-of-step with other polls. The Post-ABC poll showed Biden also leading in Michigan, but by a smaller point margin of 5 points.

    “This is garbage!! Fake News,” tweeted former GOP Congressman Sean Duffy. 

    Even the Post in its write-up of its poll noted: “The Wisconsin findings are significantly more bullish for Biden than some other public polls, which generally show him ahead by single digits, although two October surveys gave the former vice president a lead in the low double-digits. A month ago, a Post-ABC poll showed Biden with a lead of six points among likely voters in the state.”

    The article said women voters were a significant factor in the surge for Biden and that the president’s handling of COVID-19 was a major issue. Wisconsin experienced the worst day thus far of the pandemic, with more than 5,200 cases and 64 deaths on Tuesday according to the state Department of Health Services.

    On Monday a poll by the UW-Madison Elections Research Center showed Biden leading by 9 points at 53-44, among likely voters. 

    Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight tweeted in advance of the poll, “People overthink certain things. If Biden’s favored but not certain to win, I think I/we at 538 need to provide quite a bit of coverage about why Biden’s in good shape, while also sometimes discussing the ways that he might lose.”

    His site averages polls, makes mathematically based predictions and adds polls throughout the day here

    Since May, the Wisconsin-based Marquette Law School poll has shown Biden with a 4 – 6 point lead consistently, close to the roughly 4-point margin of error. The final pre-election Marquette Poll will be out at 12:15 pm on Wednesday. Upon release of the Post/ABC poll, Wisconsin political reporters — among others — all noted that this in-state poll is coming, clearly hoping a trusted state poll might help put the morning poll in context.

    Many polls showed Hillary Clinton beating Trump at this point in Wisconsin in 2016. And pollster Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette poll offered this response: “Polls don’t vote. The election is in your hands.”

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    Melanie Conklin
    Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.