Poll shows Ron Johnson falling behind his Dem challenger

A new poll has bad news for Wisconsin Republicans as well as for Republicans, in general.

According to the Washington Examiner, the poll has incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) significantly trailing Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) in the U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin. 

The poll comes from Marquette Law School. 811 registered Wisconsin voters were surveyed between Aug. 10 and 15, resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. The school’s website claims that the poll “is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history.”


The most important finding is that Johnson is trailing Barnes by seven percentage points, which is outside the poll’s margin of error.

When asked who they intend to vote for, 51% of those surveyed chose Barnes whereas 44% chose Johnson. 1% chose “neither,” 3% chose “don’t know,” and 1% “refused” to chose. These figures combined with the poll’s large margin of error mean that Johnson still may be in the race.

But, it is worth noting the trend, which is clearly in Barnes’s favor.

The pollster put this same question to voters back in mid-June. Then, Barnes was also in the lead, but only by two percentage points – 46% to 44%. At the time, 1% chose “neither,” 7% chose “don’t know,” and 2% “refused” to choose.

So, it would appear that, since this June poll, more Wisconsin voters have made up their minds to vote for Barnes.

It’s not looking good

Breaking the results down further, it appears that Independent voters are playing a decisive role in the race between Johnson and Barnes.

Both candidates overwhelmingly enjoy the support of their respective parties: 92% of Republicans intend to vote for Johnson and 95% of Democrats intend to vote for Barnes. But, Independents, by a margin of 52% to 38%, support Barnes.

It is not immediately clear, from the results of the poll, why it is that Independent voters are so heavily leaning towards Barnes. The common sense answer is that Independents prefer Barnes on the issues they find most important. But, it is just not clear from the poll what those issues are.

The bottom line, though, is that it is looking as though Johnson is going to have a hard time holding onto his seat, which is bad news for Republicans looking to take the majority in the U.S. Senate this November.

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