Majorities in Michigan, Wisconsin say 2020 winner should get to fill Supreme Court seat

WASHINGTON — Majorities of likely voters in Michigan and Wisconsin say the winner of the 2020 presidential election should get to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as Democrat Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in both states.

Those are the results of two new NBC News/Marist polls of these two battleground states, which show Biden ahead of Trump by 8 points among likely voters in Michigan, 52 percent to 44 percent, and by 10 points in Wisconsin, 54 percent to 44 percent.

The likely-voter numbers in Michigan are within that poll’s margin of error, while the numbers in Wisconsin are outside the margin of error.

In Michigan, 54 percent of likely voters say the winner of the presidential contest should decide who gets to fill the Supreme Court vacancy; 35 percent believe Trump should fill it immediately; and another 7 percent say Trump should fill it after the election, regardless who wins.

The percentages in Wisconsin are similar: 56 percent say the election winner should fill the Supreme Court seat; 37 percent say Trump should fill it immediately; and another 5 percent say Trump should fill it after the election.

In both states, nine-in-10 Democrats and approximately 60 percent of independents believe the 2020 winner should fill the seat, while about 80 percent of Republicans say Trump should get to fill it immediately.

The polls were conducted before Saturday when Trump nominatedSeventh Circuit Appeals JudgeAmy Coney Barrett to fill the seat, with the Election Day less than 40 days away.

In Michigan, Biden’s 8-point lead over Trump among likely voters is fueled by his advantages among Black voters (90 percent to 7 percent), women (59 percent to 37 percent), independents (56 percent to 37 percent), whites with college degrees (56 percent to 39 percent) and seniors (53 percent to 45 percent).

Trump, meanwhile, holds the edge in the state with men (51 percent to 45 percent), whites without college degrees (52 percent to 45 percent) and white evangelical Christians (70 percent to 25 percent).

The two candidates are essentially tied among all white voters in the state (Biden 49 percent, Trump 47 percent) and white Catholics (Biden 48 percent, Trump 47 percent).

Among all registered voters in Michigan, Biden gets 52 percent to Trump’s 43 percent.

And in Michigan’s competitive Senate contest, incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters gets 49 percent among likely voters, while Republican challenger John James gets 44 percent. (Among registered voters, it’s Peters 49 percent, James 43 percent.)

In Wisconsin, the former Democratic vice president’s 10-point lead is fueled by similar margins, although his lead among seniors in state (at 59 percent to 38 percent) is even larger than it is in Michigan.

Among all registered voters in Wisconsin, it’s Biden 52 percent, Trump 44 percent.)

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Governors hold higher job ratings than Trump does

In both Michigan and Wisconsin, the sitting governor has a higher approval rating than Trump does in the state, according to the two NBC News/Marist polls.

In Michigan, 56 percent of all registered voters approve of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s job, versus 42 percent who approve of the president’s job. (Trump’s approval among likely voters in the state is 43 percent).

In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ job-approval rating is at 50 percent among registered voters, compared with Trump’s 42 percent. (The president’s job approval among likely voters is unchanged.)

On the issues

As with national polls, Trump gets higher marks on the economy from voters in these two states than he does on the coronavirus and race relations.

In Michigan, Trump leads Biden by 7 points among likely voters on which candidate better deals with the economy, 49 percent to 42 percent. But in Wisconsin, they’re tied on the economy, 46 percent to 46 percent.

Biden, meanwhile, is ahead of Trump by close to 20 points or more in these two states on the coronavirus and race relations.

And they’re essentially tied in both Michigan and Wisconsin on which candidate better deals with crime.

Also in Wisconsin, a majority of likely voters — 51 percent — say they’re more concerned about the actions of protesters and about looting, while 38 percent say they’re more worried about the actions of police against George Floyd in Minnesota and Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In Michigan, 49 percent of likely voters say they’re more concerned about the protests, while 42 percent are more worried about the police actions.

What the poll samples look like

As Marist works to ensure that harder-to-reach voters are included in its samples, 16 percent of the likely voters in Michigan are from Detroit and Wayne County, 27 percent are from the southeast part of the state, 24 percent are from the central and east, 19 percent are from the southwest and 14 percent are from the north and Upper Peninsula.

Thirty-one percent of likely voters in Michigan identify as Democrats, an equal 31 percent are Republicans and 36 percent are independents.

Eighty percent of the likely voters in the state are white, while 12 percent are Black.

And 37 percent of the likely voters in Michigan have college degrees, and whites with college degrees make up 30 percent of the likely-voter sample.

In Wisconsin, 15 percent of the likely voters are from Milwaukee County, 21 percent are from the counties surrounding Milwaukee, 10 percent are from Dane County (Madison), 19 percent are from the southwest part of the state and 17 percent are from the northern part.

Thirty-one percent of likely voters in Wisconsin identify as Democrats, an equal 31 percent are Republicans and 36 percent are independents.

Eighty-seven percent are white, while 4 percent are Black.

And 39 percent have college degrees, and whites with college degrees make up 35 percent of the likely-voter sample.

The NBC News/Marist poll of Michigan was conducted Sept. 19-23 of 1,161 adults (which has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.6 percentage points), 1,082 registered voters (plus-minus 3.7 percentage points) and 799 likely voters (plus-minus 4.3 percentage points).

The NBC News/Marist poll of Wisconsin was conducted Sept. 20-24 of 1,131 adults (plus-minus 3.8 percentage points), 951 registered voters (plus-minus 4.1 percentage points) and 727 likely voter (plus-minus 4.6 percentage points).

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