New Marquette Poll Shows 2022 Candidates Have a Lot of Work to Do to Introduce Themselves



By Pat Kreitlow

March 2, 2022

Sen. Ron Johnson gets the highest unfavorability rating in the survey’s nine-year history.

There are some people in Wisconsin who follow every development in the 2022 races for governor and US Senate, but the latest Marquette Law School poll shows that number is still quite tiny.

The survey of 802 Wisconsin voters, conducted in the final days of February, shows about half of Democrats don’t yet know who they’ll support in the Senate primary to run against Sen. Ron Johnson, and about half of Republicans don’t yet know who they’ll support in the primary to run against Gov. Tony Evers.

Even among those who said they are enthusiastic about voting in these races, 43% have no preferred candidate.

In fact, of the two most widely known candidates, 50% say they don’t have an opinion on former Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleifisch, who’s hoping to run against Evers—and 62% don’t have an opinion on current Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who’s hoping to run against Johnson.

Besides the 54% of Republicans who say they don’t have a preferred candidate for governor yet, 30% currently support Kleefisch, 8% support former US Marine and Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson, and 5% support state Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport).

RELATED: Ramthun Already Pulling Two Other Candidates for Governor Further Right

Besides the 48% of Democrats who say they don’t have a preferred candidate for Johnson’s Senate seat, 23% support Barnes, 13% support Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, 5% support Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, 3% support state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and 2% support other candidates in the race.

The Marquette poll’s full sample of respondents has a 3.8% margin of error, higher when drilling down to voters in one of the parties.

Meanwhile, the Lasry campaign on Tuesday released results of polling it contracted, saying it shows Lasry closing the gap with Barnes, according to NBC News. While the Marquette poll had 354 Democratic voters in its sample, the survey firm Normington Petts said it surveyed 600 likely Democratic primary voters, with about a 4% margin of error.

The Lasry-funded poll shows Barnes with 35% support to Lasry’s 27%, with all other candidates polling at less than 8%.

The Marquette poll regularly measures job performance and the favorable and unfavorable ratings on incumbents in office, including Johnson, Evers, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and President Joe Biden. Johnson’s 45% unfavorable rating has climbed significantly since it was 29% in August 2019. Johnson gets a favorable rating from 33% of respondents. Baldwin has a 42%-36% rating, favorable vs. unfavorable.

“This is [Johnson’s] highest unfavorable rating ever in the Marquette poll (dating back to 2013),” said veteran Milwaukee Journal Sentinel politics reporter Craig Gilbert on Twitter. “Last 3 polls have been his 3 highest unfavs in 9-plus yrs of this poll.”

Evers’ job approval numbers (50%-41%) are five points better than last October when he was slightly underwater in that category, 45%-46%.

Biden’s job approval has fallen six points since October, going from 49%-46% to 43% approval and 52% disapproval in February.  


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.



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