Wisconsin Public Radio

Marquette Poll Shows Races Tightening

New poll shows governor's race is tied, Johnson leading Barnes 50% to 48%.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Nov 2nd, 2022 01:41 pm
Tony Evers and Tim Michels.

Tony Evers and Tim Michels.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson‘s polling lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has narrowed, according to the latest survey of Wisconsin residents by the Marquette University Law School. The results show the state’s race for governor is a dead heat, with pollster Charles Franklin labeling both races as toss-ups.

Wisconsin’s senate race has been one of the nation’s most closely watched contests with Democrats hoping Barnes will flip the seat in order to maintain or expand a slim majority in that chamber. Republicans are hoping to keep Johnson in office and take control of the U.S. Senate by way of toss-up senate races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada.

In Marquette’s final poll before the midterm election, 50 percent of likely voters surveyed between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1 said they would cast their ballots for Johnson, while 48 percent said they would vote for Barnes.

Johnson’s lead was cut by half since Marquette’s previous poll, released Oct. 12, which showed 52 percent of likely voters pledging support for Johnson and 46 percent saying they’ll vote for Barnes.

Swings among independent voters in Wisconsin’s senate race have been significant. Shortly after Barnes won an all-but-uncontested Democratic primary in August he held a 15 point advantage over Johnson among independents. Two months later, that lead had disappeared and Johnson was ahead of Barnes with independents by 2 percentage points.

Wednesday’s Marquette results show 53 percent of independents favoring Johnson and 46 percent favoring Barnes.

Much of that shift has been credited to a wave of Republican attack ads painting the lieutenant governor as soft on crime. Johnson’s campaign and allied outside political action committees have continually hammered Barnes for past statements about reallocating police funding to pay for social services and reducing Wisconsin’s prison population by half.

Since October, Barnes and allied outside political action committees have doubled down on attacking Johnson for his long anti-abortion record. The ads have highlighted Johnson’s past votes on national abortion ban legislation and a personhood bill that Barnes claims is akin to an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape and incest.

In Wisconsin’s hotly contested race for governor, Republican construction executive Tim Michels and Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers were locked in a dead heat, according to Marquette’s survey results.

Wednesday’s results show 48 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Michels and 48 percent said they’d choose Evers. That’s the tightest the race has been since Michels entered the race in April and was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in June.

Among independents surveyed by Marquette, 47 percent said they planned to vote for Evers while 46 percent said they’d support Michels. In August, Evers held an 11-point advantage over Michels with independents. That was winnowed down to 6 percentage points in September and flipped to a 1 percentage edge for Michels among independents in early October.

Michels and allied outside political action committees have blanketed Wisconsin with negative ads attacking Evers for being soft on crime. Much of the advertisements have focused on pardons and paroles of prison inmates by Evers’ Wisconsin Parole Commission and the governor’s response to the deadly 2020 riots in Kenosha.

Evers’ campaign and his Democratic allies have countered with attack ads focusing on Michels’ support of Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban law and his opposition to gun control laws.

The Marquette Law School poll surveyed 802 registered voters between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1. The margin of error for the full sample of voters was 4.6 percent. The margin of error among the 679 likely voters surveyed was 4.8 percent.

Marquette Poll: US Senate race tightens, Johnson leads Barnes by 2 points was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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