Ron Johnson jumps into lead in Wisconsin Senate poll as Democrat negatives rise

Marquette Law School Poll gives Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson slight leads.
Ron Johnson, Washington, D.C., Feb. 2, 2022

The mood seems to be changing in Wisconsin's top two races this November, even as the numbers continue to show toss-ups.

The latest Marquette Law School Poll released yesterday gives Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson slight leads in their races. Evers is up 47-44 on Republican Tim Michels, while Johnson is up 49-48 over Democrat Mandela Barnes.

But the bigger news are the jumps in "unfavorables" for the Democrats.

"[For] only the second time since Evers took office that he is net negative on job performance rating," pollsters said Wednesday.

The overall job approval for Evers in the latest poll says 44% approve of the job the governor is doing, while 47% disapprove. In August's poll, that was 47% approval and 45% disapproval. Back in February, those numbers were 50% approval and 41% disapproval.

In the Senate race, pollsters say Barnes' "unfavorable" numbers skyrocketed.

Among registered voters, 33% say they have a favorable view of Barnes while 32% of voters say they have an unfavorable view of him. In the August poll, those numbers were 37% favorable, 22% unfavorable. Back in June, those numbers were 21% favorable and 16% unfavorable.

"Barnes faced very little criticism during the Democratic primary," Marquette Poll director Charles Franklin said. "There weren’t attack ads out from his primary opponents."

The "unfavorable" numbers for the Republicans remain high, according to the MU Poll, but they have been high for a while.

Johnson remains underwater with voters. He has just a 39% favorable rating and 47% unfavorable rating. In August's poll those numbers were 38% favorable, 47% unfavorable. Back in June, his favorable/unfavorable rating was 37% to 46%.

Tim Michels also saw his "unfavorables" jump. The new poll gives him a 34% favorable rating and 39% unfavorable rating. In the August poll, those numbers were 33% favorable and 33% unfavorable. In June's poll he was sitting at 22% favorable and 22% unfavorable.

The latest Marquette Law School Poll was conducted from Sept. 6-11, 2022, interviewing 801 registered Wisconsin voters. The margin of error for questions for all registered voters is +/- 4.3 percentage points; for 632 likely voters, it is +/-4.9%.