‘Likely’ Voters Favor Republicans. ‘Registered’ Voters Favor Democrats in New Poll.

By Christina Lorey

October 12, 2022

We break down the biggest takeaways from October’s Marquette Law School poll.

With less than one month until the midterms, Wisconsin’s latest poll is painting a clearer picture of what could happen. Well, kind of. 

The new Marquette Law School Poll, which surveyed 801 registered voters the first week of October, is a mixed bag. Here are some key takeaways.  

[NOTE: The poll’s margin of error is a little more than four percentage points, meaning races that are closer than 4% are considered a “toss up.”]

The governor’s race is getting closer.

Among likely voters, 47% support Democrat Tony Evers and 46% support Republican Tim Michels. In September, it was Evers 47% and Michels 44%.

The US Senate race is tipping in Sen. Ron Johnson’s favor.

52% of voters support Johnson this time around, compared to the 46% who support Barnes. In September, it was Johnson 49%, Barnes 48%.

However, when all registered voters– not just likely voters– are factored in, Democrats are more likely to win.

Among all registered voters, 46% support Evers and 41% support Michels. In the Senate race, it’s 47% for Barnes and 47% for Johnson.

Independents side with incumbents in both big races.

Gov. Evers still leads among independent voters in the governor’s race, 49% to 38%. Among independent “likely” voters, 45% support Barnes while 51% back Johnson in Wisconsin’s US Senate race.

Independents are the least likely to vote.

While 84% of Republicans and 83% of Democrats say they are “absolutely certain” to vote, only 69% of independent voters plan to cast a ballot.

Evers is the most “liked” candidate on the ballot.

When asked their overall opinion of each candidate, 44% of voters view Evers favorably. Johnson follows at 41% favorable, with Barnes at 39% and Michels at 36%.

Democrats understand what matters to you.

Which candidate better understands the problems faced by ordinary people in Wisconsin? In the governor’s race, 47% say Evers and 39% say Michels. In the US Senate race, 47% say Barnes and 40% say Johnson.

Inflation remains your top concern.

For the second month in a row, two-thirds of Wisconsin voters are “very concerned” about the cost of living increase. Public schools and gun violence (tied at 60%), abortion policy and crime (tied at 56%), accurate vote count (52%), and taxes (47%) are other top concerns.

Democrats and Republicans have very different priorities. 

Democrats are “most concerned” about abortion policy, gun violence, and public schools. For Republicans, it’s inflation, illegal immigration, and crime. Independents prioritize a mix of those issues, with public schools, inflation, and gun violence topping their list.

Men and women also have different concerns.

Women prioritize gun violence and abortion policy when choosing which candidate they’ll support, while men are more concerned about how certain candidates will affect their taxes.

We’re in this together.

2022 is a difficult time for a majority of voters. The percentage of people who say their family is “living comfortably” has dropped, from more than 60% in 2020 to 53% today.

Click here for the full results.

And make your plan today to vote this November!

Click here to register, sign up, or check your status.

Click here to learn about who and what is on your ballot.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.



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