MU Law Poll: Michels leads GOP governor's race, Barnes remains ahead in Senate contest
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- In the latest Marquette University Law School Poll, businessman Tim Michels edges former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch slightly in the pack of Republican candidates aiming to take on Democrat Governor Tony Evers in the November election, while Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes remains ahead of Democrats for the primary for U.S. Senate.
This is the first poll featuring Michels, who announced his candidacy after the previous poll was conducted. Michels also received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Michels is the choice of 27% of Republicans and independents who say they will vote in the GOP primary while Kleefisch is close behind with 26%, a virtual tie given the margin of error. Businessman Kevin Nicholson received 10% of support, state representative Timothy Ramthun got 3%and Adam Fischer is supported by less than 0.5%.
But about a third of Republican voters remain undecided.
"I come back to what people learn between now and August 9 about each of the candidates that may tilt republican voters one way or another," poll director Charles Franklin told reporters.
Democrats in the primary for U.S. Senate are aiming to take on GOP Senator Ron Johnson in November. Barnes received 25% of support while Alex Lasry received 21% of support among those who say they will vote in the primary. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski received 9% of support while Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson received 7%. All other candidates got 1% of less support.
The poll also looked at hypothetical matchups for the November general election and found tight races for both governor and Senate.
Governor Evers polls ahead of GOP candidates in all hypothetical matchups, with Kleefisch the only Republican candidate within the margin of error.
"I think they're close enough that one would not try to make any inference about solid leads," Franklin said of the hypothetical matchups. "Let's wait until we're after the primaries to see where people feel after they have a party nominee for sure."
In the hypothetical matchups for the general election for U.S. Senate, Sen. Johnson also faces tight possibilities.
"There's still a third of people without their minds made up and if you look at the matchups with [Ron] Johnson, three of the democratic candidates have a claim for doing pretty well," Franklin said.
The poll also found inflation as the top concern among voters and Republicans with an advantage among voter enthusiasm, which could help boost their chances in the general elections in November. But Franklin said it may come down to voter turnout, with a higher turnout favoring Democrats and lower turnout favoring Republicans.
"Small differences in turnout could make a difference in tipping races that are as close as the ones we have right now," Franklin said.
More information on the poll can be found HERE.
A previous version of this story incorrectly said Barnes' lead was less than the previous MU Law Poll, however, he has widened his gap by one more percentage point from the previous poll.