If Wisconsin Is a Guide, Philadelphia Riots Won't Help Trump in Pennsylvania

The National Guard was authorized to deploy in Philadelphia on Tuesday night as demonstrations continued for a second night following the fatal shooting of Black man Walter Wallace Jr.

Police officers with riot gear were seen in Pennsylvania's largest city last night after some looting and destruction of property was reported amid the protests.

With less than a week before the presidential election on November 3, the unrest in Philadelphia could become a last minute campaign issue in a state that is considered crucial to President Donald Trump's hopes of re-election.

Yet if similar incidents in smaller cities in Wisconsin earlier this year are any indication, the events may not boost Trump's chances of remaining in the White House.

There was violent unrest in Wisconsin's state capital, Madison, and in Kenosha following the shooting of African American man Jacob Blake in August.

At the time, state Democrats worried that the looting and destruction could play into Trump's hands as the president repeatedly emphasized the "law and order" aspects of his campaign.

However, polling suggests the unrest in Wisconsin did not have a major effect on voters' intentions in the state, which Trump narrowly won in 2016.

Analysis from poll tracker FiveThirtyEight on August 27 suggested former Vice President Joe Biden's polling was not linked to the popularity of the Black Lives Matter movement. There was strong speculation BLM's popularity would decline due to the events in Wisconsin. This was later borne out in polling.

A Marquette Law School poll on September 9 showed little change in how Wisconsin voters viewed mass protests, while Biden enjoyed a lead on the president of 47 percent to 43 percent. The poll was taken after several nights of rioting and looting in Kenosha.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll suggests Biden is leading Trump in Wisconsin by 17 points. The poll has the highest A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight.

A lower B/C-rated Civiqs poll from October 22 to 26 suggested Biden was ahead 7 points in Pennsylvania.

FiveThirtyEight's aggregate of major polls had the Democrat leading Trump in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin throughout August and September.

Trump accused Biden of wanting to defund the police and of being slow to speak out against violence over the summer. However, Biden has ruled out defunding the police and he condemned the violence in Wisconsin, while also expressing his dismay at the death of Jacob Blake.

"What I saw on that video makes me sick," Biden tweeted about footage of Blake's shooting on August 26. "Once again, a Black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight, with the whole world watching."

"Needless violence won't heal us. We need to end the violence — and peacefully come together to demand justice," he added.

Trump at a Rally in Omaha, Nebraska
US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Omaha, Nebraska, on October 27, 2020. With the presidential election less than one week away, candidates of both parties are attempting to secure their standings in important swing states. Unrest in Pennsylvania may not give Trump's campaign a boost Steve Pope/Getty Images