Final MU Poll Before Election Shows Close Gov, AG Races

On Oct. 31, Marquette University Law School (MU) released its final poll before the 2018 midterm elections. Overall, numbers remained largely the same as in the previous poll. Voter opinions on the economy remain positive, and the majority of voters still think Wisconsin is headed in the right direction. Gov. Scott Walker and Tony Evers are still tied, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin maintains a strong lead. Attorney General Brad Schimel is still up, but his lead has narrowed to a two point race.

The poll shows the governor’s race as a toss-up, with Walker and Evers tied at 47 percent. Voters ranked health coverage and K-12 education as the most important issues facing Wisconsin, both topics that have been front and center in the governor’s race.

Walker’s approval ratings improved by two percentage points from the previous poll, back to his highest approval since March 2017 at 50 percent. However, voters are still relatively split in their opinions of Walker, with 48 percent viewing him favorably and 49 percent unfavorably.

Voters are also split on Evers. While his favorable rating remains about the same at 42 percent, his unfavorable rating has jumped from 29 percent in September to its highest at 41 percent in this poll. Evers’s name recognition has continued to improve, down to 12 percent of voters not having heard enough about him from 17 percent earlier in October and 25 percent in September.

In the U.S. Senate race, Baldwin maintained a double-digit lead over opponent Leah Vukmir. Voter opinions on the Senate candidates have not changed much since the previous poll, with Vukmir at 33 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable and Baldwin at 49 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable.

The attorney general race has again tightened in this poll. Schimel remains ahead of opponent Josh Kaul by two points, but his lead narrowed significantly from four points earlier in October and seven points in September. In this poll, Kaul’s favorable/unfavorable numbers improved slightly to 16 percent favorable and 12 percent unfavorable, up from 10 percent favorable and 8 percent unfavorable in the previous poll. On the other hand, Schimel’s favorable ratings decreased to 29 percent favorable and 25 percent unfavorable from 32 percent favorable and 22 percent unfavorable in the previous poll.

Kaul’s name recognition has also begun to improve slightly from the previous two polls, in which around 67 percent of voters hadn’t heard enough about him to form an opinion. However, this poll showed 56 percent still haven’t heard enough about Kaul, compared to 33 percent who haven’t heard enough about Schimel.

This poll is the last snapshot of voter opinions before they head to the polls on Tuesday, but still anything can happen to shift the outcome of the election in the next few days.