Second to Last MU Poll Before Elections Shows Tied Gov Race, Other Incumbents Ahead

On Oct. 10, 2018, Marquette University Law School (MU) released its second to last poll before the Nov. 6 election. Overall, the poll showed improved numbers from the previous poll for Gov. Scott Walker while incumbents state Attorney General Brad Schimel and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin maintained their leads. Also helpful to incumbents were good numbers on the economy (only 15 percent of likely voters say it’s gotten worse), and improved numbers in the right direction/wrong track question. (Among likely voters, 53 percent say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, while 42 percent say the state is on the wrong track, up from 50 percent to 47 percent in the previous poll.)

President Donald Trump’s approval increased to 47 percent approval and 52 percent disapproval (compared to 43 percent to 54 percent in the previous poll). 47 percent is Trump’s highest approval rating in the MU poll (Trump also achieved a 47 percent approval rating in August). Voters still have strong feelings about the president, with only 11 percent saying they somewhat approve and 4 percent saying they somewhat disapprove. The rest of respondents noted strong approval or disapproval.

Voters are split on their opinions of Gov. Scott Walker. His approval rating was slightly up at 48 percent approval to 49 percent disapproval (compared to 46 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval in the previous poll). Similar to the president, the poll showed most voters have strong opinions about Walker. Just 1 percent of respondents said they had not heard enough about Walker to state an opinion.

The poll showed Walker’s re-election opponent Tony Evers gaining name recognition with 17 percent saying they had not heard enough about him compared to 25 percent in the previous poll. His favorable rating remained steady at 41 percent, but his unfavorable rating jumped from 29 percent to 38 percent.

Walker and Evers were nearly tied in the head to head question, with Walker at 47 percent and Evers at 46 percent (including leaners). The poll showed Walker has regained ground after Evers’s five point lead in the previous poll.

This poll also brought the recently headline-making lieutenant governor candidates into the mix. More voters had favorable opinions than unfavorable about both candidates, though Walker’s running mate Rebecca Kleefisch had more name recognition. 29 percent said they have not heard enough about Kleefisch, while 60 percent have not heard enough about Evers’s running mate Mandela Barnes.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin maintained a ten point lead on opponent state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield). Both candidates’ favorability numbers remained at similar levels as the previous poll, with Baldwin at 49 percent favorable to 42 percent unfavorable and Vukmir at 30 percent favorable to 43 percent unfavorable.

The poll showed Wisconsin’s other U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who is not up for re-election this year, with favorability numbers back up to 44 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable (same numbers as August 2018). In the September poll, Johnson’s favorability had dropped slightly to 41 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable.

In the state attorney general race, Schimel maintained his lead over Democrat opponent Josh Kaul at 45 percent to 41 percent. Schimel’s lead narrowed slightly from his six point lead in the previous poll. The poll showed Kaul’s name recognition has not improved much, with 67 percent still saying they have not heard enough (compared to 69 percent in the previous poll). 37 percent said they have not heard enough about Schimel (compared to 44 percent in the previous poll).