MU Poll: Barnes holds 7-point lead over Johnson, governor's race narrows between Evers vs. Michels

MU Poll: Barnes holds 7-point lead over Johnson, governor’s race narrows between Evers vs. Michels

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mandela Barnes holds a 7-point lead over incumbent Senator Ron Johnson. Meanwhile, new poll results indicate a close race between Gov. Tony Evers and Republican Tim Michels, according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll.

Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has shifted into a strong position, leading 51% over Sen. Johnson, 44% among registered voters. It's a 5-point shift from June where Barnes received 46% to Johnson's 44%.

The gains Barnes received in the MU poll from June to August largely comes from independent voters where he leads Johnson by 14 percentage points. Marquette University Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin said independents are a key demographic that can make or break a campaign.

"They are influential and important, especially compared to partisans who hardly ever change their minds, whereas independents can change their minds," said Franklin.

In the race for control of the governor's mansion, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers holds a slight edge over GOP candidate Tim Michels, with 45% of support compared to 43% backing Michels. Independent candidate Joan Beglinger received 7% among respondents.

Michels, the millionaire construction co-owner of Michels Corp, entered the race in April and recently defeated his primary opponents, securing about 327,000 votes, according to unofficial results. In June, the matchup between Evers vs. Michels was 48% to 41%.

This was the first statewide polling conducted by Marquette University since the Aug. 9 primary.

Inflation Remains Top Concern

With gas prices falling from record high levels in June, inflation remains a top concern among voters. Gun violence, crime, abortion policy, public schools, taxes, climate change, illegal immigration and coronavirus follow suit.

Along party lines, Democratic voters said they are most concerned about climate change and gun violence, meanwhile, inflation and crime are the top two issues among Republicans.

Biden, Trump Approval Ratings:

Forty-percent of those surveyed approve of the way President Joe Biden is handling his job, while 55% disapprove. In June, 40% approved and 57% disapproved. Since February, there has been little movement on Biden's approval numbers.

Among all registered voters, 38% have a favorable opinion of former President Donald Trump, 57% have an unfavorable opinion of him and 5% lack an opinion or declined to answer. These views have also barely changed during 2022.

Looking ahead to 2024, 59% of Republicans support Trump running for president, while a majority of Democrats, independents and an overall majority prefer he doesn't.

Marquette interviewed 811 registered Wisconsin voters from Aug. 10-15. The margin of error is +/-4.2 percentage points.

You can view the entire poll results here.

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