With the twin albatrosses of the pandemic and the cratered economy hanging around his neck, President Trump seems to have staked his entire re-election bid on his claims to be the "law and order" candidate in a nation gripped by civil unrest.
But new CNN and SSRS polling shows that tack is failing and failing hard in the state of Wisconsin, where the city of Kenosha has been the latest flashpoint in the fight against police brutality that has swept the country since the beginning of the summer.
Trump is down by significant margins in the state, which many see as key to his victory, as it was in 2016.
The presidential race is near even in North Carolina while Joe Biden holds a lead over Donald Trump in Wisconsin, a… https://t.co/vETH7fR0MD— CNN Politics (@CNN Politics)1600186026.0
Overall, Biden leads Trump by a whopping 10 percentage points among likely voters in Wisconsin, 52% to 42%. And when it comes to Trump's signature "law and order" focus, while the numbers are tighter, Trump again loses decisively.
When asked about the situation in Kenosha, which has been gripped by violence in the wake of the police shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, and the subsequent murder of two protestors at the hands of a White supremacist gunman, Wisconsin voters rated Trump's handling of the event abysmally: 42% approved of his performance, while 54% disapproved, a 12 point spread.
Asked about Joe Biden's response to the events in Kenosha, likely Wisconsin voters rated him favorably by 6 points--42% disapprove, while 48% approve.
Wisconsinite's also see Biden as better equipped when it comes to "law and order" in general by similar margins as well. He is seen as having a clear plan to solve the nation's problems by a 6-point margin over Trump (49% to Trump's 43%) and more suited to keeping Americans safe by a 5-point margin (50% to 45%).
And when it comes to the issues of managing the pandemic and handling racial unrest, Biden blows Trump out of the water by double-digit margins: by 13- and 17-point margins, respectively. Wisconsin voters are evenly split on economic and so-called "stamina" issues.
The round of polling also looked at North Carolina, where the two candidates are far more evenly split, but where Biden still leads in most categories.
On Twitter, people were pleasantly surprised by the numbers.
@HudsonRiverCroc @sahilkapur It seems to have had the absolute opposite effect. His handling of that crisis is 42% approval/54% disapprove.— Miles (@Miles)1600188493.0
Ten points in Wisconsin? https://t.co/KOyCQCTnta— Chris Megerian (@Chris Megerian)1600188189.0
Even Obama didn’t win Wisconsin by 10 points in 2012. https://t.co/VSWZOXgIn5— Russell Drew (@Russell Drew)1600186720.0
But many weren't surprised at all, and the polling indicative of just how fully Trump has failed many of his voters.
@Nate_Cohn WI is tired of rioting and chaos and the voters there obviously know an Inciter-In-Chief when they see one.— Cassie Hill (@Cassie Hill)1600186464.0
It turns out using footage of things happening on your watch in an effort to say that's what will happen if you ele… https://t.co/UaeNnMxUDn— Max Steele (@Max Steele)1600186513.0
Are you telling me that Trump’s enormous tax cuts for corporations, his failed trade wars, and his opposition to fu… https://t.co/BXteenjcfF— Michael Linden (@Michael Linden)1600188591.0
And others were regarding the polls with caution--particularly given the way similarly positive polling for Hillary Clinton shook out in 2016.
Yeah, I don’t put any stock in these numbers. Roughly half of voters who will be voting for Trump keep quiet about… https://t.co/ZoFu5tpJH2— Kevin O'Keefe (@Kevin O'Keefe)1600188704.0
@Nate_Cohn Biden is well favored to win WI and MN now, but he'll also need one of either FL, PA, AZ, or NC, and his… https://t.co/oERJ3QXCOK— Vote Early! (@Vote Early!)1600186975.0
Looking back at the 2016 polls. How was Wisconsin polled so badly? Hillary was up 6.5 on election night and lost. https://t.co/1OeOhHakBR— Aaron (@Aaron)1600186546.0
CNN's polling is among the first conducted entirely after the release of journalist Bob Woodward's taped conversations in which the President admitted to underplaying the pandemic and lying about it to the American people, suggesting that the revelations may be affecting voters' decisions.