The Developing Shape of August Primaries Comes into View in New Poll Results

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School Poll, Public

The results of the Marquette Law School Poll, released on Wednesday, June 20, showed both how long a time and how short a time two months is as an election approaches.

The primary on Aug. 14 will decide which of a large field of Democrats will race incumbent Republican Scott Walker in the November election for governor and which of two Republican candidates will face incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin in the election for a US Senate seat.

How long is it until Aug. 14? The poll, conducted through telephone interviews with 800 registered voters statewide from June 13 to 17, found that large majorities said they did not know enough about or did not yet have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of every one of the candidates in the top spotlighted contests. The figures ranged from 61 percent to 94 percent. Large portions of the public haven’t yet felt the election is close enough to require a lot of attention.

On the other hand, now that the clock is under two months, interest in the poll results, including news coverage of the findings, is increasing. While the general public may not have tuned in strongly yet to the campaigns, those who are involved know time is running short. Increasingly active campaigning and advertising almost surely will lead to more voters knowing the people running for office by the time Aug. 14 arrives.

About a third of those polled who say they intend to vote in either the Democratic primary or the Republican primary have not yet made up their minds. But some indications of where things stand currently can be seen in the results.

People were asked who they would vote for in match-ups between Walker and each of the 10 Democrats who will be on the August ballot. Walker led in every match-up, but generally not by large margins. Walker drew 44 to 49 percent of the support, while the Democrats drew 36 to 44 percent.

People who said they were going to vote in the Democratic primary gave Tony Evers, the state superintendent of public instruction, the most support, 25 percent. Support for each of the other nine candidates was in single digits. (One of them, Andy Gronik, who was supported by four percent, announced Thursday that he was dropping out of the race.) The largest support, 34 percent, went to “don’t know.”

In the Republican Senate primary, Kevin Nicholson was the choice of 37 percent and Leah Vukmir the choice of 32 percent, with the rest undecided, refusing to answer, or naming someone else.

In trial match-ups, Baldwin led each of the Republicans, at 50 percent to 39 percent over Nicholson and 49 percent to 40 percent over Vukmir.

The poll offered pictures of public sentiment in Wisconsin on a range of major matters, including the Foxconn industrial development coming to Racine County, President Trump’s job performance, the Singapore summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un, and Trump’s tariff plans. To read the list of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice six take-aways from the poll, click here.  Journal Sentinel stories on the governor’s race and Senate race may be read here and here.

Watch the one-hour conversation between Professor Charles Franklin, director of the poll, and Mike Gousha, the distinguished fellow in law and public policy at Marquette Law School, by clicking here, and read the full poll results by clicking here.


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