By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) is up by 4 percentage points in his re-election bid and Wisconsin’s race for governor is now even, according to the latest Fox News poll.
It’s a reversal of fortune for the Republican candidates from last month’s poll. And other polls are trending in the “right” direction.
The Fox News survey of Wisconsin registered voters finds the incumbent Johnson leading liberal Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes 48% to 44%. In last month’s poll, Barnes was up 4 points (50% to 46%).
Among the 87% of respondents who say the will definitely vote in the November mid-terms, Johnson leads Barnes by 5 points (50% to 45%).
It’s neck and neck in the Badger State race for governor, with Gov. Tony Evers, a far left liberal, tied (47%) with construction company owner Tim Michels, a conservative Republican. In last month’s Fox News poll, Evers was up 49% to 46%.
The poll was conducted Sept. 22-26 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R). More than 1,000 Wisconsin registered voters were randomly selected from a statewide voter file for the survey, which has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Barnes has run into some serious trouble with his past, particularly his comments and policy positions on progressive criminal justice reform. During his time in the Legislature, the Democrat authored a bill that would do away with cash bail. He’s tightly connected to radical groups that have called for defunding law enforcement. And he’s backed by some of the most radical politicians in congress, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), whom Barnes once referred to in a tweet as “my president.” Barnes has spoken the same socialist language as AOC, tweeting during the opening days of the pandemic that, “We should drastically reimagine society, our communities, and what quality of life actually means in a moment like this.”
According to the Fox News poll, overall, 44% are concerned Barnes’ views are too extreme. That’s up from 30% in August and puts him on par with Johnson, as 43% worry his views are too extreme.
The increase in concern over Barnes’ views comes from Republicans (+25) and, more troublesome for his campaign, independents (+13). Nine in 10 Democrats remain unconcerned.
“Barnes’ central claim is that Johnson is an extremist who is out of touch with mainstream Wisconsin voters,” says Shaw. “Over the past month, it looks like Johnson has used Barnes’ past associations with the ‘Squad’ and his environmental views to flip the script,” Republican pollster Daron Shaw told Fox News. He said Republicans appear to have momentum in the Senate and gubernatorial races, but they’re still competitive.
A new AARP poll, commissioned Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research, shows Johnson ahead of Barnes by 5 percentage points — 51% to 46 % among likely voters. In voters age 50 and older, the Senator leads his challenger by 7 points.
The same poll shows Evers leading Michels by 3 percentage points (50% to 47%).
“Among voters between the ages of 18 and 49 years old, both candidates were tied with 49 percent support each, but Michels has an edge among voters ages 50 years and older: The Republican received 51 percent support among that demographic to Evers’s 46 percent,” The Hill reported.
The AARP poll was conducted from Sept. 18 to Sept. 25 among 1,399 likely Wisconsin voters. The margin of error for the statewide sample is plus or minus 4.4%.
Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 3. 2022