Johnson holds 4-point lead over Barnes in Wisconsin: poll

Greg Nash/Associated Press-Morry Gash

Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is leading Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes by 4 percentage points in Wisconsin’s Senate race, according to a new Emerson College Polling-The Hill survey released Wednesday.

The poll shows 50 percent of very likely voters favor Johnson, compared to 46 percent who support Barnes, the state’s lieutenant governor. Three percent are undecided, and 2 percent plan to vote for someone else.  

Regardless of whom they support, most respondents — 59 percent — believe Johnson will win a third term.  

Asking undecided voters which candidate they’re leaning toward, the poll found Johnson’s support increased to 51 percent and Barnes’ stayed at 46 percent. While support for both candidates jumped by 2 points since September, the incumbent senator still maintains the 4-point edge he’s held over Barnes. 

Slightly more voters viewed the incumbent senator favorably, 51 percent, than those who viewed him unfavorably, 48 percent.  

Johnson’s lead dissipates, however, among women in Wisconsin. 

“Men and women voters break in opposite directions for US Senate: Johnson leads Barnes among male voters 55% to 41% whereas women voters break for Barnes over Johnson 50% to 45%.”  

Respondents cited the economy as the most important issue (42 percent), followed by “threats to democracy” (16 percent), abortion access (13 percent), health care (10 percent) and crime (9 percent). 

Nationally, Democrats have sought to keep abortion top of mind for voters ahead of the midterm elections, while Republicans have tried to focus on crime, the economy and immigration.  

An October poll from Marquette Law School found 63 percent of women in Wisconsin were concerned about abortion policy, compared to 48 percent of men. Wisconsin providers have halted abortions since June, as the state determines if a near-total ban, first enacted in 1894, will be in effect following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The race for Johnson’s seat — briefly considered a toss-up this summer as Barnes led in the polls but which the nonpartisan Cook Political Report now rates as “lean Republican” —  is one of several that will likely determine control of the Senate.

The poll was conducted Oct. 27-29 with 1,000 very likely voters and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.  

Tags Mandela Barnes polls Ron Johnson Wisconsin Wisconsin Senate race
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