BY: JOE KELLY
(CN) – Standing out against national trends, a poll released Thursday found that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is Wisconsinites’ preferred Democratic candidate, and there are slightly more voters in the Badger State who say they’ll vote for any Democratic candidate than those who back President Donald Trump.
The poll, compiled by public opinion outlet Change Research and progressive media company Crooked Media, puts Warren 5 percentage points ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, at 29% to Sanders’ 24%, with former Vice President Joe Biden coming in third with 20% support among Democratic voters.
That primary forecast goes against Biden’s clear advantage so far nationally. Poll aggregator RealClearPolitics puts the former vice president about 13 points ahead of both Sanders and Warren.
Sanders comfortably won Wisconsin by 13 points over eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the state’s 2016 primary. President Trump won Wisconsin in the general election, a crucial part of his unexpected victory.
Thursday’s poll found that 38% of Wisconsin voters would definitely vote for Trump again, but 39% of all respondents said they would definitely vote for any Democrat in lieu of Trump.
Trump took Wisconsin by less than a point over Clinton in the 2016 contest the first time a Republican won the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Trump, however, lost the state in the primary earlier that year to Texas Senator Ted Cruz by a 13-point margin.
Wisconsin has proven to be a fiercely partisan, and decidedly purple, battleground state in recent history. The poll’s results show that has little chance of changing in 2020, as 94% of those polled said that they plan to vote on the same side of the aisle they did in 2016.
But the survey indicates that voters who went for a third party candidate or did not vote in 2016, including those who became of voting age in the meantime, plan to vote Democrat in 2020 by a 45-30 margin.
After the top three candidates, South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg found 9% support among Wisconsin Democratic voters while California Senator Kamala Harris came in fifth place with 5%.
Businessman Andrew Yang, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard were each backed by 2% of Democrats in the Wisconsin poll.
The Change Research survey of 1,966 registered Wisconsin voters – including 935 likely Democratic primary voters – was conducted online between Aug. 9 and 11. It has a margin of error of 2.2% for the full sample and 3.2% for Democratic primary voters.
Wisconsin, with its 10 electoral votes, is a key state to take on the path to the White House in 2020, particularly for Democrats who have lamented the lack of grassroots action and political focus they deployed in the swing state in 2016.
The state’s partisan divisions have playing out publicly since Democrats took every statewide office in a blue-wave midterm last November that included the ouster of two-term Republican Governor Scott Walker, who also levied an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2016. Walker was replaced by Democrat Tony Evers, who has been fighting in the courts with the GOP-controlled Legislature over its attempts to limit his powers as governor.
In an unequivocal nod to the importance of Wisconsin in 2020, Milwaukee has been officially selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the first time the party has held a national convention in the Midwest outside of Chicago since 1916. The convention will be centered around the Fiserv Forum, home to the Milwaukee Bucks, from July 13-16, 2020.
(AP Photo/John Locher)