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Poll: Half of voters don’t have a preferred candidate in Wisconsin’s two biggest races

Wisconsin elections and voting.
Wisconsin elections and voting.(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 4:46 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2022 at 7:03 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Nearly half of Democrats and Republicans are not yet sure whom they will support in this fall’s Wisconsin U.S. Senate and gubernatorial primary, respectively. However, among the ones who have made up their minds, the races are trending in opposite directions, slightly.

According to the latest Marquette University Law poll, support for Republican frontrunner Rebecca Kleefisch grew, but her lead did not. She now claims the backing of nearly a third of Republican voters (32%), two points more than MU’s February poll. Her closest competitor, Kevin Nicholson, also gained a couple of points and reached double digits. That leaves him still trailing the former lieutenant governor by 22 points, the same as February.

The Republican candidates are looking to challenge Democratic Gov. Tony Evers this fall. Marquette pollsters found his overall approval rating barely moved, slipping a point from 50% in February to just under half now.

Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates are trying to flip the Republican-held Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Ron Johnson to protect the party’s slim majority in the U.S. upper chamber. Unlike Evers, the two-term senator’s approval rating climbed slightly, but still sits at 36 percent.

In the race to succeed him, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes saw his lead over Alex Lasry dwindle to just three points, well within the 6.6 percent margin of error MU placed on its Democratic poll (the margin of error for Republicans was 5.6 percent).

Barnes dropped four points and now has the support of 19 percent of Democratic primary voters, while Lasry picked up three to move to 16 precent.

No matter how the primaries turnout, both party’s voters are ready to hit the ballot box come November. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats and Republicans said they are very enthusiastic about voting in the general election.

A majority of those polled expressed concerns about the way things are going in Wisconsin, the MU survey found, with 56 percent saying the state was on the wrong track, versus 36 percent who said it is headed in the right direction.

Democratic Preferred Candidate for U.S. Senate:

Primary ChoiceAprilFebruary
Mandela Barnes1923
Alex Lasry1613
Sarah Godlewski73
Tom Nelson55
Peter Peckarsky1*
Chantia Lewis12
Adam Murphy*2
Darrell Williams**
Kou Lee00
Steven Olikara00
Jeff Rumbaugh00
Won’t vote in this primary33
Don’t know4848

Republican Preferred Candidate for Governor:

Primary ChoiceAprilFebruary
Rebecca Kleefisch3230
Kevin Nicholson108
Tim Ramthun45
Someone else31
Will not vote in this primary31
Don’t know4654

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