Marquette Poll: Governor, Senate races tight

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Wisconsin’s race for governor remains tight and Democrat Gov. Tony Evers is underwater again, according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll. And U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, has pulled in front of his Democrat challenger, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, in Wisconsin’s Senate race.

The poll, released Wednesday, shows Evers leading Republican challenger Tim Michels by a slim 3 percentage points (47% to 44%) among likely voters — well within the 4.9 percent margin of error.

Meanwhile, Johnson now leads Barnes by a point (49% to 48%), surging 8 percentage points among likely voters. That’s a significant swing from the August poll, immediately after the primary election, when Johnson trailed Barnes by 7 percentage points, 52% to 45%, among likely voters. The post-primary “bounce” is apparently over.

With less than two months to go before November’s mid-terms, Evers’ polling numbers look even weaker after Independent candidate Joan Beglinger dropped out of the race on Sept. 6 and threw her support behind Michels. Beglinger polled at 5 percent in the latest survey, conducted between Sept 6-11.

“Tony Evers and (Lt. Gov.) Mandela Barnes are tools of a Democratic Party that is pushing a radical agenda and eroding our freedom faster than any of us would have believed possible. They must be defeated in the November election,” the Independent candidate said in her statement in support of Michels.

Each candidate is backed by strong partisan support, but Evers has the edge among Independents (45% to 39%).

For just the second time in his term the governor is underwater.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they approve of the governor’s job performance, and 47 percent disapprove. Evers’ approval and disapproval ratings have slipped 6 percentage points since February.

“There has been a steady decline in net approval during this period,” the Marquette poll press release notes.

Some of that erosion has to do with his handling of the pandemic. The latest poll data show 42 percent of respondents disapprove of the Democrat’s performance in that area, with 40% approving. That’s down significantly since the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Evers holds the edge on Michels on the question of which candidate understands the problems of ordinary people in Wisconsin — 47% to 41%.

Evers is running even on the favorability scale. The poll finds 45 percent have a favorable view of the governor, 45 percent do not. For Michels, 34 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion, 39 percent do not. But 19 percent of those surveyed had not heard enough about the Republican to have an opinion.

Johnson’s favorability ratings edged up slightly from the last poll, with 39 percent of respondents holding a favorable view of the incumbent and 47 percent with an unfavorable opinion. Barnes, meanwhile, saw his unafvorable rating climb 10 percentage points, to 32 percent, with 33 percent holding a favorable view of the candidate. Another 25 percent say they haven’t heard enough about Barnes.

Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 15, 2022

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