Clinton maintains lead in Wisconsin, Feingold and Johnson in tight race, Loras College Poll finds

DUBUQUE, Iowa — In the closing days of the presidential election, the final 2016 Loras College Poll of Wisconsin finds Hillary Clinton maintaining a lead on Donald Trump.

“Despite continued efforts by Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has maintained an advantage in Wisconsin,” said Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and director of the Loras College Poll.  “Clinton’s six-point edge in our current poll is similar to the eight-point advantage she held in our last poll conducted at the beginning of October. Time is in short supply.  However, there are still some undecided voters out there, and they will be crucial targets for the Trump campaign in the final days.”

The statewide live-caller survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Oct. 31 through Nov. 1, and included both landline and cell phones (50-50 split).

Candidate preference four-way matchup

  Oct. 31-Nov. 1
Hillary Clinton  44 percent
Donald Trump  38 percent
Gary Johnson    7 percent
Jill Stein    2 percent
Undecided    9 percent

(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)

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.

Net favorability: President

Candidate Net Favorability
Hillary Clinton -15
Donald Trump -25

“The presidential candidates still suffer with net negative ratings in terms of favorability,” Budzisz said. “Part of the anxiety of this election for many voters is that they are not comfortable with the candidates. This election has been the most unique in recent memory, and the high negatives of both candidates are certainly part of this.”

A closer look at the electorate
Looking a little deeper into the dynamics of the presidential race in Wisconsin reveals several important patterns. Clinton performs notably better than Trump with female voters, 45 percent to 35 percent.  Both have consolidated their partisan bases, and both have only limited appeal to crossover voting from partisans of the other side. Clinton attracts support from 12 percent of self-identified Republicans, while Trump attracts 8 percent of self-identified Democrats.  Trump bests Clinton in terms of the all-important Independent voter, taking 36 percent of this vote to Clinton’s 31 percent.

Clinton and Trump supporters remain polarized regarding President Barack Obama. Ninety-two percent of Clinton supporters approve of the president’s job performance, while that number is only 7 percent among Trump supporters. Ninety-one percent of Trump supporters disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while that number is only 6 percent for Clinton supporters. Turning to the small number of undecided voters, this group is more evenly split on Obama’s job performance as 38 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove.

U.S. Senate election
The balance of power in the U.S. Senate remains up for grabs this election. Democrats need to win a net increase of four seats and the presidency to control the Senate, or net five seats for outright control regardless of the outcome of the presidential race. Wisconsin, and its rematch between Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Russ Feingold, has long been a central part of the Democratic Party’s strategy for regaining control of the Senate. The race has remained tight, and Loras College Poll finds Democratic challenger Russ Feingold with a slim lead—one that is within the margin of error.

Candidate preference U.S. Senate  

Russ Feingold 47 percent
Ron Johnson 45 percent
Phil Anderson   2 percent
Undecided   6 percent

(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)


“These will be a frantic few final days in Wisconsin’s Senate race,” Budzisz said. “For Feingold to hold on, he will need strong turnout in those traditional Democratic areas of Wisconsin. So far, Johnson is outperforming Feingold. He will need to keep that up to close out the final days of the campaign.”

Net favorability: U.S. Senate

Candidate Net Favorability
Russ Feingold – 4
Ron Johnson +9

Voters in Wisconsin think more favorably of the Senate candidates than they do of the presidential ones,. “I think Donald Trump would be quite envious of the net favorability rating of Senator Johnson. For that matter, Clinton would like to have Feingold’s favorability ratings,” Budzisz said.

Other noteworthy results from the poll

  • Fifty-one percent of Wisconsin voters approve of Obama’s job performance, while 45 percent disapprove.
  • A majority (58 percent) believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, while 30 percent believe the country is on the right track, and another 11 percent are undecided. For comparison, ,37 percent believe the State of Wisconsin is going in the wrong direction while 48 percent of voters believe the state is headed on the right track
  • In what might be a reflection on the general tightening of the race nationally, 52 percent of Wisconsin voters expect that Clinton will become the next president, down from 61 percent in the last Loras Poll taken at the beginning of October. Twenty-five percent now expect Trump to win, up from 20 percent in our previous poll.

Note on methodology
The Loras College Poll surveyed 500 Wisconsin likely voters. The survey was conducted Oct. 31 through Nov. 1.  Margin of error for full sample results is +/- 4.4 percent.  All results calculated at a 95 percent confidence interval.

  • Survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
  • 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 previous elections.
  • Survey included both landlines and cell phones (50-50 split).
  • 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, see:

For more information on the Loras Poll, visit Follow on Twitter: @LorasPoll or @ChrisBudzisz.

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.




The Loras College Poll