- Barnes has a 51%-44% lead over Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate race, according to a new Marquette Law poll.
- Johnson is running for re-election to a third term, while Barnes hopes to unseat the GOP incumbent.
- Wisconsin’s Senate race remains one of the best Democratic pickup opportunities this year.
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Mandela Barnes has a seven-point lead over two-term Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in one of this year’s Senate races, according to a new poll conducted by Marquette University Law School.
The poll showed Barnes with 51% support among registered voters in the Badger State, while Johnson received 44% support; three percent of respondents were not sure which candidate they would support in November.
Among likely voters, Barnes led Johnson 52%-45%.
(A Fox News poll released Thursday showed Barnes leading Johnson 50%-46% among registered voters.)
In Wisconsin, both Barnes and Johnson are performing well among their respective bases. But the mobile state, which has supported Democratic candidates in seven of the last eight presidential contests, has been sharply polarized in other statewide contests.
Among the pool of registered voters, Barnes received the support of 95% of Democrats, with 4% of party voters switching to support Johnson.
Johnson won the support of 92% of Republicans, with 7% of GOP voters indicating they would vote for Barnes.
Independents gave Barnes a clear advantage in the latest poll, with the Democratic challenger ahead of Johnson 52%-38%, a significant shift from June, when the two men were tied at 41% support among this key voting bloc. .
Voter enthusiasm is quite high among members of both parties. Eighty-three percent of Republicans said they were absolutely certain they would vote this fall, compared to 82% of Democrats, according to the poll. Sixty-six percent of Independents said they would probably vote in the next election.
Last week, Barnes and Johnson performed strongly in their Senate primaries.
Johnson has long enjoyed strong support among grassroots conservatives and remains a political ally of former President Donald Trump — making his renomination as the Republican Senate nominee a no-brainer. But Barnes has spent most of the year locked in a primary race.
Until last month, Barnes’ primary challengers were state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, but all three dropped out of the race within the span of two weeks and threw their support behind lieutenant governor — who since 2019 has been Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ governing partner in a state with a GOP-controlled legislature.
Evers, who is running for re-election to a second term, leads GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels 45%-43% among registered voters and 46%-44% among likely voters.
Barnes, a former state legislator, has gained a high level of visibility by criss-crossing the state to visit locales from his hometown. Milwaukee in village Bayfield County in the capacity of lieutenant governor.
But despite his lead in the polls, it won’t be easy to unseat Johnson, who despite a 38% approval rating in the polls, was able to defeat former three-term Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in 2010 and 2016. and is running for re-election in what could be a strong Republican midterm cycle.
While Barnes has highlighted his plan to expand the child tax credit and defended his support for federal voting rights legislation, Johnson has repeatedly criticized President Joe Biden on the economy and immigration, among other issues.
The race presents a huge opportunity for both sides. Trump won the state in 2016, but Biden took it back to Democrats in 2020 — underscoring his political rivalry.
And in the evenly divided Senate, where Democrats control the upper chamber based on Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote, a net gain in seats for the party would give them breathing room to pass bills without having to to receive compulsory purchase. by moderate Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
While Manchin played a key role in crafting the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes record funding for climate initiatives, the lawmaker also single-handedly dismantled the broader Build Back Better Act, the now-defunct social spending package that supported by most Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Marquette Law School surveyed 811 registered voters from August 10 to 15; the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.