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Poll of Wisconsin voters finds most have unfavorable impression of Trump

To me the Wisconsin poll, while it happily looks bad for Trump, tends only to demonstrate that we’re not done thinking and talking about him yet.

Forgive me for belaboring what is surely obvious to Black Ink readers, but I am deeply and permanently in the non-Trump camp. I don’t really understand his appeal to the minority of Americans who cling to him as the best answer to some question I can’t quite imagine.

Perhaps especially because I don’t understand his appeal, I have no confidence that we’ve seen the last of him as a presidential candidate, so I keep a small eye on his polling numbers in swing states including a new Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin voters. Since Wisconsin has become a key swing state, one Trump carried (by a single percentage point) in 2016, then lost (by less than a percentage point) in 2020, Trump’s standing in Wisconsin might be deemed relevant.

The recent Marquette poll doesn’t match Trump against any likely Democrats whom he might face in 2024, but just asks whether or not voters have a favorable impression of Trump.

They don’t, mostly.

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Those with unfavorable opinions of Trump outnumber those with favorable opinions by a very solid 57-36 percent. This is consistent with the numbers in the two previous rounds by the same pollster.

I don’t claim to know whether Trump will mount another run. If he does, notwithstanding the numbers just above, Wisconsin will likely be a close swing state.

Obviously, based on the recent numbers, Wisconsin voters would not like to see Trump back in the White House, but that fact is almost meaningless, since the question is whether they might prefer Trump over the alternative offered by the Democratic Party. (I make no assumption about whether that will be Joe Biden, who will be even older than he is now, or, if not Biden, whom.)

To me the Wisconsin poll, while it happily looks bad for Trump, tends only to demonstrate that we’re not done thinking and talking about him yet. Much as I would prefer not to think about him, that won’t feel truly safe until he dies, is convicted of a felony, or makes an ironclad (we used to say Shermanesque) statement of non-candidacy.

For those who may not recognize the term “Shermanesque,” it refers to the decision by Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman to put to rest constant rumors that he would run for president in 1884 with a statement of non-candidacy so unambiguous it is often rendered (although Sherman apparently did not literally say these oft-misquoted words) thus:

If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.

For the history nerds among us, I checked to see whether Sherman actually said those words. As I mentioned above, he did not. What Sherman actually said was:

I hereby state, and mean all that I say, that I never have been and never will be a candidate for President; that if nominated by either party, I should peremptorily decline; and even if unanimously elected I should decline to serve.

I actually like the real quote better.