The Loras College Poll

Clinton ahead in Wisconsin, Johnson with edge, Loras Poll finds

DUBUQUE, Iowa – With less than a month to go before the election, a new Loras College Poll of Wisconsin finds Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of Republican Donald Trump.

“The Badger State has long been considered a place where Trump could present a challenge to Hillary Clinton, but it appears that Trump has had trouble sealing the deal with Wisconsin voters,” said Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and director of the Loras College Poll.

The statewide live-caller survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Oct. 4-5, and included both landline and cell phones.

Candidate preference four-way matchup

Hillary Clinton 43 percent
Donald Trump 35 percent
Gary Johnson   8 percent
Jill Stein   2 percent
Undecided   9 percent
(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding, “other candidate,” and non-response.)

Net favorability

Likely voters were asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates.  The results below indicate candidate net favorability (percentage favorable opinion minus percentage unfavorable opinion). Positive numbers indicate a net favorable view, whereas negative numbers indicate a net unfavorable opinion.

Candidate Net Favorability
Hillary Clinton -8
Donald Trump -33

“Like many others, voters in Wisconsin remain generally negative toward the candidates, Budzisz said. “With only a few weeks left to go, there is little time for candidates to reverse their image. Part of the difficulty this election is that both candidates are so well known and familiar, so there is little room for them to change the minds of voters.”

A closer look at the electorate
Several noteworthy divisions exist within the electorate. Clinton leads with young voters (18-29 years old) 46 percent to 30 percent. The two candidates are virtually even with those 45-64 years of age, with Clinton at 40 percent and Trump at 39 percent. Trump does better with those whose highest education level is high school, 43 percent for Trump to 36 percent for Clinton.

Turning to motivations of supporters, 66 percent of those who intend to vote for Clinton indicated that their vote is more to support Clinton than to oppose Trump, while 25 percent indicated their Clinton vote is more a vote to oppose Trump. For Trump voters, 37 percent said they are voting for the real estate mogul more because they support him, while 51 percent say their vote for Trump has more to do with opposing Clinton.

U.S. Senate election
Beyond the battle for the White House, the control of the U.S. Senate is at stake this year, with Democrats hoping to regain the chamber. Incumbent Republican Ron Johnson is facing Democrat Russ Feingold in a rematch of the 2010 race in which Feingold was unseated. While the race has appeared firmly in Feingold’s favor over the past months, the latest Loras Poll finds Johnson with a five-point edge on Feingold.

Candidate Preference U.S. Senate  

Ron Johnson   45 Percent
Russ Feingold   40 Percent
Undecided    9 Percent
(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding, “other candidate,” and non-response.)

“The Senate result in our poll of Wisconsin is quite a reversal of electoral fortune for the incumbent,” Budzisz said. “Only time will tell if this improved standing will hold until Election Day. Democrats are counting on taking Wisconsin as part of their calculus to take control of the Senate. The next few weeks will be quite interesting in the rematch between Johnson and Feingold.”

Other noteworthy results from the poll

  • President Obama’s job approval rating among Wisconsin voters stands at 54 percent approve and 41 percent disapprove.
  • Only 33 percent of Wisconsin voters surveyed believe the country is on the right track, while 54 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
  • 61 percent of voters expect Clinton will become the next President of the United States, with 20 percent expecting Trump.
  • Looking at issues, voters trust Clinton most to address terrorism (47 percent to 41 percent) and economic issues (49 percent to 43 percent).
  • Both Johnson and Feingold have positive net favorability ratings. Johnson has a net favorable rating of +14, and Feingold has a net favorable of +8.
  • Johnson edges Feingold with independent voters, 45 percent to 35 percent.

 Note on methodology

The Loras College Poll surveyed 500 Wisconsin likely voters. The survey was conducted Oct. 4-5. Margin of error for full sample results is +/- 4.4 percent. All results calculated at a 95 percent confidence interval.

  • The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
  • The survey conducted with a random sample of registered voters (sample from official voter files provided by third party vendor).
  • The statewide sample was balanced for standard demographic variables such as age and gender, with party composition to approximate 2012 presidential electorate in Wisconsin (with reference to exit poll).
  • Survey included both landlines and cell phones (54 percent and 46 percent, respectively).
  • Screen for likely voter is report of “definitely” or “very likely” to vote in presidential election in November.
  • Script development and methodology used for the survey received input from Republican campaign consultant Brian Dumas and Democratic campaign consultant Dave Heller.

For toplines and crosstabs related to today’s release, see:

For more information about Loras College, visit, call 563.588.7100 or (800) 245-6727. Or like Loras College on Facebook or follow @lorascollege.


About the Loras College Poll
The Loras College Poll is conducted several times a year, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  Loras College faculty and student researchers work as part of the survey research team to develop poll questions, analyze and interpret data, and assist with sharing the final results with local, regional and national media.
About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras is ranked 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings and the 11th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges.


Dr. Christopher Budzisz, Associate Professor of Politics
Office: 563.588.7279

Thomas Jensen, Public Relations Manager
Office: 563.588.7179 | Cell: 919.930.1997