Republican Turnout Advantage Buoying Michels' Bid to Defeat Evers, Incumbent in Low 40s
The CD Media Big Data Poll finds Democratic incumbent Governor Tony Evers locked in a dead heat with Republican Tim Michels in the hotly contested gubernatorial election in Wisconsin. Evers (41.9%) and Michels (42.1%) each draw about 42%, while 14.2% remain undecided and another 1.7% say they'll vote for independent candidate, Joan Ellis Beglinger.
By education, voters with a high school degree or less back Michels 46.1% to 33.4%, though 18.8% are still undecided. Voters with some college or an Associate degree also back Michels 45.4% to 37.1% and 15.6% remain undecided. Voters with a 4-year degree back Evers by roughly 10 points, 47.5% to 37.7%, with 12.6% undecided. Evers' biggest lead is among voters who hold advanced or postgraduate degrees, 55.6% to 36.1%. However, they are the smallest group in the electorate and only 7.2% remain undecided.
Men prefer Michels 46.4% to 37.5% and women prefer Evers by a similar margin, 46.5% to 37.7%. Further, men (92.3%) are also more "certain to vote" than women (86.1%), setting the stage for a more male-heavy electorate. That has largely been the case in Wisconsin since 2018, when men outvoted women and were 51% of the electorate. In 2020, the electorate was even at 50% male, 50% female.
The electorate in the fall is projected to be more Republican than Democratic. In Wisconsin, machine-learning inference models that use primary vote history, contribution records and scores of other data attributes show Republicans outnumbering Democrats by roughly a 5-point spread—or, 38.58% Republican, 33.95% Democrat, and 27.47% None/Unknown.
The likely voter model used by the CD Media Big Data Poll projects the partisan composition of the electorate slightly less Republican at a R/D/I-O split of 34.5%/31.8%/33.7%. Of those "certain to vote" in November, Michels leads 44.1% to 42.0%. Of those "extremely enthusiastic" to vote, Michels also leads 48.0% to 41.3%.
"Our inference models have shown a clear and consistent trend toward Republicans in Wisconsin over the last six years or so," Big Data Poll Director Rich Baris added. "In 2020, the Republican advantage was far larger than most—to include myself—had anticipated."
"The major difference this year is that self-identified independent voters are backing Johnson and other Republicans."
Michels leads Evers among self-identified independent voters 41.9% to 32.8%.
As previously stated, men are more likely to vote than women in November. More men (70.4%) are extremely enthusiastic to vote than women (63.8%), as well.
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Most Important Issue
Cost of living and inflation ranked first when asked which issue would be most important to their vote at 26.7%. Abortion was second with 15.9% citing it as their most important issue and the economy and jobs was third with 14.6%. Johnson leads among voters who cited cost of living and inflation, as well as the economy and jobs. Barnes leads among voters who cited abortion. Immigration was fourth, cited by 6.7% of voters who overwhelmingly back Johnson.
Biden's Approval Rating
President Joe Biden's approval rating is underwater in Wisconsin. While 44.6% approve of the job he's doing as president, to include 23.4% who strongly approve, 54.5% disapprove and that includes 47.9% who strongly disapprove.
"That -24.5% intensity index with only 0.9% remaining undecided strongly suggests Biden will be an anchor weighing down Democratic candidates in November," Baris noted. "This should come as no surprise to anyone, though the impact is less at the gubernatorial level."
Of those who remain undecided in the race for Wisconsin governor, 56.6% strongly disapprove and another 7.2% somewhat disapprove. Only 13.7% strongly approve and 18.9% somewhat approve.
The CD Media Big Data Poll for the Wisconsin Midterm Elections was conducted by Big Data Poll and interviewed 852 likely general election midterm voters statewide via Peer-2-Peer SMS/OSP from September 17 to September 18, 2022. The overall survey sampling error is ± 3.4% at a 95% confidence interval. It’s important to note that sampling errors for subgroups are higher. Results are weighted to represent statewide voter file (Aristotle) demographics to include gender, age, race and ethnicity, education and region. The proprietary likely voter model is determined by both self-reported likelihood and vote history. The full crosstabs can be viewed on MarketSight and a detailed methodology statement can be viewed HERE.