Poll shows incumbents Evers, Johnson narrowly ahead of challengers, but within margin of error

MADISON, Wis. — The latest poll from Marquette Law School shows races for Wisconsin governor and one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats are tightening two months from Election Day.

Marquette’s poll of 801 registered voters in the state had a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent for the survey conducted between September 6 and September 11. A total of 632 likely voters — those who said they were “absolutely certain” to vote in November — were also polled, with those results carrying a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.

Of those that were polled, 45 percent identified as Republican or leaning Republican, 44 percent identified as Democratic or leaning Democratic, and 10 percent identified as independent.

The big change in September’s poll — among both registered voters and likely voters — is in the U.S. Senate race, with results showing Republican Sen. Ron Johnson now hanging on to a small lead among both groups — although still well within the margins of error.

Among registered voters, pollsters found 48 percent said they support Sen. Johnson, while 47 percent said they support Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Among likely voters, 49 percent said they supported Sen. Johnson, while 48 percent said they supported Lt. Gov. Barnes.

Last month, Lt. Gov. Barnes saw a 7-point lead among likely voters fresh off of his win in the Democratic primary.

Pollsters say the shift in the Senate race could be attributed to a shift in attitudes among likely voters who identify as independents. Last month, those voters favored Lt. Gov. Barnes over Sen. Johnson by a 55-40 margin. In September, the independent likely voters polled said they support Sen. Johnson by a 48-46 margin.

Sen. Johnson’s campaign shared his response to the latest poll numbers Wednesday afternoon.

“I’d rather see that result than last month’s, but you know, I don’t put a whole lot of faith in polls. It’s getting hard to poll – I just assume it’s a dead even race, that’s the way I’m going to run this campaign,” Sen. Johnson said.

In the race for Wisconsin governor, polls of both registered voters and likely voters continue to show a virtual toss-up between Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican challenger Tim Michels, with Gov. Evers hanging on to a slim lead.

Among likely voters, 47 percent said they support Gov. Evers, while 44 percent said they support Michels. A total of 5 percent of likely voters said they support independent Joan Beglinger, who has already ended her campaign. The governor’s 3 percent lead is well within the margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent in the poll of likely voters. Among registered voters, the gap is even closer, with Gov. Evers holding onto a 44-43 lead.

Despite still trailing, the Michels campaign celebrated the results of the latest poll.

“Tim Michels appeals to a broad group of Wisconsinites from all walks of life, and our closing the gap reflects what we are seeing on the trail as we outwork the Evers campaign,” the campaign said in a statement after the results were released.

The previous Marquette poll, which was conducted between August 10-15 shortly after the November races became official with the results of the August primary, showed Lt. Gov. Barnes leading Sen. Johnson and a virtual toss-up in the gubernatorial race. Gov. Evers led Michels by two points in a poll that had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent. Beglinger saw support from 7 percent of those who responded to the poll, while 5 percent did not have a preference.

Full results of the latest poll can be found here and below.