Ron Johnson and Mandela Barnes in tough race for Senate in Wisconsin – CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll

It seems like Wisconsin elections are always pretty close these days, and here are two more following that trend. In the Senate race, Republican Senator Ron Johnson is just one point ahead of Democrat Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes in a toss-up contest, and the gubernatorial race is also currently between Democrat Gov. Tony Evers and Republican Tim Mitchell.

Johnson receives enthusiastic support from the GOP base and is fueled by concerns from Wisconsin voters about crime and economic issues, though his views on the 2020 election Some may exclude independents.

Meanwhile, Barnes has bolstered the Democratic base and is receiving strong support from those who attach great importance to the issue. abortion, his voters give him the most important factor to support. On balance, voters also seem to personally like Barnes more than Johnson.


Republicans seem to be benefiting from the vote. They are four points more likely than Democrats to say they are definitely voting this year, and Johnson supporters ten points more likely than Barnes supporters to say they are about to vote. I am very excited.

In some ways, this is a referendum on midterm President Joe Biden. On that note, more are casting their Senate votes to oppose them rather than support them, and Johnson is easily winning those voters in Wisconsin.

The Power of Power can also help Johnson. Most of his supporters call his Senate record a major factor in his vote, plus, Republicans like him personally. This differs from the dynamic in other battleground states where Republicans are not incumbent. In Pennsylvania, GeorgiaAnd ArizonaRepublicans are voting more in opposition to Democrats than in affinity for their own candidate.

But as much as the Republican base likes Johnson, it faces the same dislike from the other side. Most of those who support Barnes say the main reason is to oppose Johnson, not because they like Barnes. This is especially true for the independents currently supporting Barnes.



Johnson’s stance

What role do Ron Johnson’s views on 2020 play? For Republicans, not a major. But they may differ from some independent candidates.

Republicans heavily support Johnson, whether they believe he has accepted or reverse the 2020 election results – and many say they are not sure which one it was. That said, there is a bit more crossover for Barnes among third Republicans, who believe Johnson wanted to reverse the election.


But Johnson’s views on 2020 could hurt him from voters outside his own party.

Of the independents who say they want to reverse the election, eight out of 10 support Barnes. Other independents – who say Johnson has accepted the results or is not sure of his stance – overwhelmingly support Johnson.

Importantly, there may be a limit to its power – as many voters do not know what Johnson’s stance was. Those who pay less attention in the medium term are less likely to know. And that, in turn, may be because voters tend to value the 2020 election relatively less than issues such as the economy or abortion.

And Johnson got nine out of 10 votes from voters who thought COVID policies in Wisconsin were too strict. Whether that’s true or not, he thinks Johnson has made mostly critical statements about vaccines.


What do supporters of Ron Johnson like about him?

Johnson may have garnered a lot of attention for the 2020 election and the comments he made about the coronavirus and vaccines, but they are not the major reason most of his voters give for supporting him, nor for Donald Trump. They have support. These factors make some sense, but they lag far behind the weight of his supporters on Johnson’s economic policies and his Senate record.


Who supports Barnes?

Barnes has a potential advantage over Johnson among the wider electorate. But that’s a small difference compared to Democratic candidates on other Senate battlefields. In Arizona, for example, Democrat Mark Kelly has a 20-point advantage over Republican Blake Masters due to the way he handles himself, and Kelly leads by three points in that race.


Barnes’ voters cite his stance on abortion as the top factor for his support for it—far ahead of any other issue tested. He is quite a frontrunner among voters who say abortion is too important for his vote. It tracks with Democratic support in other important Senate battlefields.


The issue of abortion is helping to keep the race closed, but Johnson has received a boost from broad leadership with voters who prioritize the economy, inflation and crime, which are all issues that voters value more than abortion. Of all the issues measured, Johnson’s biggest margin comes from voters who say immigration and crime are very important – even more so than those who prioritize economic issues.



Half of Wisconsin voters believe Barnes supports protecting police — and some elected officials want to support less funding for police. These voters are especially likely to say that Barnes will support policies that make them less protected from crime, and that four to one, they prefer Johnson over Barnes.

When asked which candidate would support policies that would keep him and his family safe from crime, more voters choose Johnson than Barnes.



Barnes leads Johnson with women and young voters. He is narrowly behind among white voters, getting the same share as Biden got in 2020. Johnson leads with men and older voters. Older voters describe crime as a very important issue, and most think Johnson’s policies will keep them safe.

Wisconsin voters see different groups benefiting depending on who wins this Senate race. If Barnes is elected, a majority think he will support policies that will help black people – the only group for which he enjoys a majority – and more voters think hurting women will help if Johnson wins. If the majority think the wealthy, men, white people, and people of faith will benefit.

Neither candidate is seen by the majority as endorsing policies that will help the middle class, but says more about Barnes’ policies than Johnson’s.

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governor’s race

The governor’s race is tied between Democrat Evers and Republican Michels.


Democrat Gov. Tony Evers received mixed and highly partisan ratings for his job as governor. Most voters approve of the overall handling of the coronavirus, but only one in five voters see it as a very important issue in their midterm vote.


Instead, the economy and inflation top the list, followed by crime, and here, again, we see the Republican candidate leading among voters who say these issues are too important for their vote. On balance, voters are more likely to say that the anwers would make them less safe than crime; They say the opposite of Republican challenger Mitchell.


Of all four candidates running for office statewide, Evers is the most adored—the only one for whom a majority of voters say they like how he personally handles himself. He has a 10 point advantage over Michels on this measure, but that doesn’t translate into much of an advantage in the race. He’s also running with Barnes, who has a narrow prospect advantage against Johnson.

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Most voters want abortion to be legal in Wisconsin, and most see Evers as a candidate who would defend access to abortion. But while it’s the top issue for both Democrats and Evers supporters, only half of voters overall say it matters in their vote, and less than a third of Mitchell’s supporters do (and most of them don’t. want it to be legal).


Michigan: Whitmer leads Dixon for governor

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer led Republican challenger Tudor Dixon by six points in his re-election bid. Most voters view the incumbent governor as competent and mainstream, while less than half view their opponent as such. Unlike Whitmer, Dixon is seen by most voters as an extremist, a label that is hurting him along with those outside his party. Most voters who consider him an extremist are supporting Whitmer.

But voters’ concerns about the state’s economy and a pessimistic economic outlook could provide an opportunity for Dixon.



Whitmer has a positive job approval rating, and that’s significantly higher than Biden’s in the state. For Whitmer’s supporters, it appears Biden has nothing to do with his standing: Nearly two-thirds say Biden’s support for Whitmer makes him more or less unlikely to vote for him. .

In addition, nearly a quarter of voters who disapprove of Joe Biden’s job are still supporting Whitmer. Many of these voters are independents who accept the work Whitmer is doing as governor.


Whitmer received an overall positive rating for her handling of the coronavirus outbreak. But those who feel the policies implemented in Michigan were too strict — a largely Republican group — of the handling of the coronavirus are overwhelmingly disapproving, and most are not voting for that.


But it’s the economy that’s more on the mind of Michigan voters than the coronavirus, and most of them rate the state’s economy negatively (though better than the country’s). Half of voters are expecting America to be in recession next year, perhaps leaving some room for Dixon to gain ground. Like in Wisconsin, voters who place a great deal of importance on the economy and inflation are voting mostly Republican, especially those who anticipate a recession.

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And by two to one, more voters think Biden’s policies are hurting rather than helping Michigan’s economy. This suggests that further nationalizing the race, and making it a referendum on Democrats at the national level, could help Dixon.


Abortion has been a central issue in Whitmer’s campaign, and it is promoting it. He is at the forefront of those who say it is very important in their vote. Abortion is the biggest issue for women below 45 years of age in the state. (For women overall it only lags behind the economy.)

Women are supporting Whitmer over Dixon by a 19-point margin, and women who cite abortion as a very important issue favor Whitmer by even more than a 37-point margin.



The issue of abortion will be directly on the ballot here. Most Michigan voters say abortion should be legal in all or most cases in the state, and a majority will vote “yes” on Proposition 3, which would amend the state’s constitution and establish the right to abortion. This includes more than a quarter of Republicans—these Republicans prefer abortion to be legal in all or most cases in the state.


These CBS News/YouGov surveys were conducted between October 3-7, 2022. They are based on a statewide representative sample of 1,285 registered voters in Wisconsin and 1,138 in Michigan. Samples were weighed by gender, age, race, education, and geographic region based on the US Census’ current population survey as well as the 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±3.7 points in Wisconsin and ±3.6 points in Michigan.


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