US Senator Tammy Baldwin Popular in Wisconsin while Governor Scott Walker looks to be tested in November

A new statewide poll of Wisconsin registered voters finds Democratic issues of increase funding for education and raising the minimum wage to $15 to be popular with Independents which puts the Democratic party in position to hold US Senator Tammy Baldwin’s seat and take back the Governorship for the first time since Governor Scott Walker was elected in 2010. The poll also looked at the August 14 primaries. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 4.2 percentage points and data was collected July 26-28.

The survey found the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate is a toss-up, with 35% of Republican Primary voters favoring State Senator Leah Vukmir, and 35% opting for businessman/Marine Corps veteran Kevin Nicholson. 27% are undecided (n=238, +/- 6.5%). Among very likely voters, Vukmir gets 40% of the vote and Nicholson receives 33% (n = 178; +/- 7.6%)

Regardless of who wins the nomination, both Nicholson and Vukmir trail incumbent Senator Baldwin. Nicholson is more competitive at a 9 point deficit (49% to 40%); Vukmir trails by 14 points (50% to 36%). Baldwin is popular in Wisconsin with a 46% approval and 32% disapproval rating. Baldwin wins the Independent vote 51% to 31%, and 48% to 34% against Vukmir and Nicholson respectively.

The Democratic Primary for Governor appears to be breaking in the direction of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers with 30% of the vote. Only State Senator Kathleen Vinehout is the only other candidate in double digits at 10%, 33% of Democratic primary voters are still undecided (n=282, +/-6.3%).

Evers appears in a strong position for a General Election run against incumbent Governor Scott Walker. Evers leads 48% to 41%, with 7% undecided. One variable that could factor in to the Evers lead is Governor Walker’s popularity in the state is underwater, with a 40% approval and 46% disapproval. Independents disapprove of Walker 47% to 36%, and break for Evers over Walker 47% to 34%.

The approval rating for President Trump basically mirrors his national ratings – 41% approval and 52% disapproval.

In a statewide generic ballot test for US Congress, Democrats lead Republicans 48% to 38%. Independents break for the generic Democratic candidate, 43% to 22% who prefer the Republican candidate.

50% of Voters are supportive of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour; 35% opposed and 15% were undecided. Independents support the raise 44% to 34%, while Democrats support is 77% to 9%. Republicans are strongly opposed to the increase 62% to 29%.

Regarding the level of funding for local education, 58% of those surveyed believe there is not enough funding – 28% said it was just right, and 10% believe there is too much. 61% of Independents believe there is not enough funding as do 65% of Democrats. Only 28% of Republicans said there was not enough funding with 48% believing it was just right.


The Wisconsin Emerson College poll was conducted July 26-28, 2018 under the Supervision of Assistant Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=632, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 4.2 percentage points. The data was weighted by mode and 2016 election results. It is important to remember that subsets carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. The CI for the Democratic Primary, n=282, +/-6.3 percentage points; Republican Primary, n=238, +/- 6.5 percentage points. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and an online panel provided by Survey Sampling International, SSI.

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