Graham Kilmer

Poll Shows Barnes Leads Among Milwaukee Democrats

Getting 39% of Milwaukee County Democratic vote. Alex Lasry polled at only 4%.

By - Aug 3rd, 2021 05:10 pm
Mandela Barnes.

Mandela Barnes.

A new poll shows Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has a strong lead among likely Democratic primary voters in Milwaukee County.

Barnes is in an eight-person race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, now that State Senator Chris Larson has ended his campaign, though others may still choose to run.

Milwaukee Works, Inc., a 501c4 non-profit that advocates for politically moderate or centrist public policy issues, commissioned a poll of likely Democratic primary voters in Milwaukee County and found that 39% of respondents would vote for Barnes.

The poll was conducted by Remington Research Group, a firm based in Kansas City, Missouri which has a reputation as one of the top Republican pollsters. It surveyed 766 likely Democratic primary voters in Milwaukee County. Turnout was weighted demographically to match expected turnout, according to the pollster.

Milwaukee is one of the state’s major Democratic strongholds. Winning the area is key for any Democrat trying to win a statewide race.

Larson, who dropped out Tuesday, was polling in second place in Milwaukee with 15%. Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, was polling at only 4%. 

Based upon the poll, as of the end of July, Democratic voters in Milwaukee County were less likely to vote for Lasry than for Dr. Gillian Battino, a radiologist from Wausau — who was at 5%. Wisconsin Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski and Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis both polled at 3% and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson got just 2%.

Lasry was among the first candidates to announce, and he’s already raised millions in campaign donations. A significant chunk of Lasry’s campaign funding has come from donors outside of the state including maximum contributions from celebrities, professional athletes and sports executives and Wall Street hedge fund managers. Lasry’s father, Marc Lasry, a billionaire hedge fund manager and co-founder of the investment firm Avenue Capital Group, was a donation bundler for the campaigns of Former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He’s also one of the co-owners of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Barnes got 59% of the African American vote in the poll and 27% of white votes, the highest percentage for both. Larson, by contrast, had strong white support and almost no Black support.

Dan Adams, a Milwaukee attorney who runs Milwaukee Works, Inc., told Urban Milwaukee he was extremely surprised when the polling results came back showing Barnes had such a significant lead.

The conventional wisdom, Adams said, “was that there was a top tier” of candidates including Barnes, Godlewski and Lasry. The polling shows that, at least in the Milwaukee area, “It’s Mandela Barnes versus the rest.”

Barnes is a Milwaukee native and represented the area in the state Assembly before being elected lieutenant governor in 2018.

Adams said he was equally surprised by Lasry’s poor showing in the polls despite his massive fundraising and all the media attention from the Bucks winning the NBA Championship.

“He has fallen on his face,” Adams said. “Having one tenth of the support of Barnes at this point, you have to wonder if he is gonna reconsider his bid.”

“The problem for him is he obviously has no base here,” Adams said, questioning what his argument will be against the other candidates like Barnes, Nelson or Godlewski. “Why him and not them?”

Of course that’s just one poll. The polling website FiveThirtyEight gives Remington a B rating, finding it correctly called 73% of 43 polls.

Read the full survey here.

Categories: Politics, Weekly

2 thoughts on “Poll Shows Barnes Leads Among Milwaukee Democrats”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Mandela Barnes would receive 90% of the vote from Milwaukee and Madison. Barnes would receive the Democratic vote, the Progressive vote, and the disenchanted GOP vote from the rest of Wisconsin.

    If the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Milwaukee Bucks campaign with Mandela Barnes for U.S. Senate, 80% of the Wisconsin Democrats would win their 2022 elections and Wisconsin would turn a deep shade of Blue.

    Alex Lasry should give all his campaign cash to Mandela Barnes.

  2. joel.haubrich@gmail.com says:

    I have a hard time wrapping my arms around a county-wide poll. I’d like to have seen UM interview a polling professional on the veracity of this type of poll.

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