Updated Apr 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

"Uninstructed": Wisconsin voters cast anti-war protest votes against Biden

Data: Associated Press; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: Associated Press; Table: Axios Visuals

Tens of thousands of Wisconsin primary voters cast protest votes Tuesday against President Biden, per the AP, in a growing demonstration across states over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

Why it matters: Wisconsin organizers surpassed their goal in the 2024 battleground's Democratic primary, earning 20,682 "uninstructed" votes, the margin of Biden's 2020 victory against former President Trump in the state.

  • Biden was declared winner of all four states with presidential primaries Tuesday: Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York.
  • He also issued some of his strongest criticism of Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Tuesday evening, saying its government "has not done enough to protect aid workers" in Gaza after seven staffers from the World Central Kitchen NGO were killed Monday in Israeli strikes.

Zoom in: Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday offered further insight into one of the only wild cards this cycle: how many voters in Biden's party would cast ballots against him.

  • Either "uninstructed" votes in Wisconsin or "uncommitted" votes in Rhode Island or Connecticut signaled a protest against Biden.
  • New York voters in protest cast blank ballots. Those results weren't available in real time, but the state's Board of Elections told Axios figures would be available once the election is certified.

State of play: Biden, already the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has previously faced protest vote efforts in states including Michigan, which has a large Arab American population, as well as Minnesota.

  • Trump traveled to the Midwest Tuesday as his campaign has zeroed in on Biden's record on immigration, an increasingly top voter issue.
  • Biden's campaign meanwhile turned attention toward Florida, where the state's high court on Monday issued seismic rulings on abortion.

Zoom out: Much polling on the two unpopular front-runners has revealed a stunningly close race, with an occasionally bleak outlook for Biden with key Democratic groups.

  • More recently a Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll showed Biden gaining significant ground on Trump in key swing states, including Wisconsin.

Go deeper: Trump says Nov. 5 will be "Christian visibility day"

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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