Wisconsin Republican and Democratic voters have very different campaign priorities, Marquette Poll reveals

TMJ4's Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson looks at the latest Marquette Law School Poll out Wednesday.
Posted at 6:22 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 19:22:20-04

A new Marquette Law Poll is giving us a look at where Wisconsin voters stand just two-and-a-half months away from Election Day.

Races for Wisconsin governor and the U.S. Senate headline the November ballot.

There is no surprise in the governor's race. It's close and within the margin of error. Democrat Tony Evers is up by two points over Republican Tim Michels.

45% of those surveyed said they plan on voting for Evers, while 43% said they'd throw their support behind Michels. 7% said they'd support independent candidate Joan Ellis Beglinger.

The U.S Senate race is a different story. Democrat Mandela Barnes is up seven points over Republican Ron Johnson.

Fresh off his primary win - Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes finds himself up in Marquette's first post-primary poll.

RELATED COVERAGE: Tight race between Evers and Michels, Barnes leads Johnson: MU Poll

But nearly four out of 10 voters say they don't know enough or haven't heard about Barnes to form a favorable or unfavorable opinion.

"That's where I think this year's senate campaign puts a lot more emphasis from Johnson's point of view," said Marquette Law School Professor Charles Franklin. "How does he shape the opinion of Barnes and from Barnes' point of view? How does he take control of that?"

Johnson finds himself in a familiar battle - running from behind in the polls as he did six years ago.

But despite millions of dollars in campaign ads for and against Senator Johnson, his unfavorable numbers remain higher than his favorable.

He was able to turn that around in 2016, but the big difference this time around, Johnson is more well-known by voters.

"So the magic that worked so well in 2016 converting don't knows into favorable seems to be working the other way in 2022 and now he has a much smaller base of 15 percent of don't knows to try to influence during the campaign, said veteran pollster Franklin.

Republicans see inflation, crime, and taxes as the top three issues in that order. Democrats say it's climate change, gun violence, and abortion policy.

In the Senate race, Barnes is up 14 points over Johnson with independent voters, but in the governor's race, Evers is up by four points or within the margin of error over Michels.

"Unlike partisans who hardly change their minds, independents can change their minds," said Franklin.

The independent candidate for governor, Joan Beglinger is polling at 7%.

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