MADISON — Republican Gov. Scott Walker has erased his deficit against Democrat Tony Evers in the latest Marquette Law School Poll, with the two in a statistical tie less than a month before the Nov. 6 election.
The poll results released Wednesday found Walker getting 47 percent support among likely voters, compared to 46 percent for Evers and 5 percent for Libertarian Phil Anderson.
Unlike the governor’s race, the poll finds the dynamics of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate contest basically unchanged from last month. Democrat Tammy Baldwin leads Republican Leah Vukmir in the new poll, 53 percent to 43 percent.
In the race for state Attorney General, Republican incumbent Brad Schimel holds a slightly narrower lead than last month over Democratic challenger Josh Kaul, 47 percent to 43 percent.
In the governor’s race, a tightening among independent voters explains part of the shift from last month, when Evers led Walker in the poll for the first time, 49 percent to 44 percent.
The mid-September Marquette poll found Evers leading Walker by 20 points among crucial independent voters. In the new poll, Evers leads among independents by six points.
The September poll found Baldwin leading Vukmir 53-42 among likely voters. It found Schimel leading Kaul 48-41, with 10 percent undecided.
The poll sampled 799 likely voters, with an error margin of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, and 1,000 registered voters, with an error margin of plus or minus 3.6 points. Voters were interviewed by landline or cell phone Oct. 3-7.
The partisan makeup of the poll sample, including those who lean to a party, is 47 percent Republican, 44 percent Democratic and 8 percent independent. That’s slightly more Republican-leaning than the poll’s long-term partisan makeup.
Trump approval up slightly
President Donald Trump’s approval rating in the poll improved slightly from last month, with 46 percent of registered voters approving of his performance and 51 percent disapproving. In September, Trump’s approval-disapproval was 42-54.
Democrats retain an enthusiasm advantage in the poll, albeit slightly diminished from last month. Among Republicans, 67 percent said they are very enthusiastic about voting this year, compared to 73 percent of Democrats. Only 38 percent of independents said they’re very enthusiastic.
The poll results came as Vice President Mike Pence visited Wisconsin to hold closed-door fundraisers for Walker in Green Bay and Eau Claire. Evers used Pence’s visit to re-up his challenge to Walker to drop the state’s involvement in a multi-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, the health care law also known as Obamacare.
The poll shows an electorate divided not just by race, as has long been the case, but increasingly among white voters, by gender and educational attainment.
Evers receives his strongest support, a nearly 2-to-1 edge, from white female college graduates. Walker has a similar advantage among white male non-college graduates.
Baldwin also does best with white, female college graduates but, unlike Evers, also holds a sizable edge among non-college white women.
Plurality opposes Kavanaugh
The poll is the first since the national dustup over the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. It found slightly more registered voters (47 percent) oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination to the nation’s high court than support it (43 percent).
Wisconsin voters’ views of Kavanaugh also have soured somewhat since July, when Trump announced his nomination. In the new poll, 38 percent of registered voters gave a favorable view of Kavanaugh, compared to 41 percent unfavorable and 20 percent who didn’t know. In July the breakdown was 27 percent favorable, 22 percent unfavorable and 50 percent didn’t know.
The poll asked voters if they would rather increase spending on public schools or reduce property taxes. By a 57 percent to 37 percent margin, they responded they would rather increase school spending.
On the state’s roads, however, voters took a different tack. Despite 64 percent of respondents saying the condition of the state’s roads is fair or poor, a nearly 2-to-1 majority opposes a revenue boost to upgrade them.
Sixty-one percent of respondents said it is more important to keep gas taxes and vehicle registration fees where they are now, compared to 32 percent who said it’s more important to raise gas taxes and registration fees in order to spend more on roads and highways.