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New Poll Shows Incumbent Dem Gov Is NOT Where He Wants to Be When Seeking Reelection

AP Photo/Scott Bauer

On Sunday, the Trafalgar Group released another round of polling, this time when it comes to Wisconsin where Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and Gov. Tony Evers (D) are running for re-election. Polling spells potential trouble for both incumbent candidates heading into the November midterm elections, a little more than two months away.


Gov. Tony Evers is ahead of his Republican opponent, Tim Michels, but by only 0.5 percent. That puts his lead within the margin of error, leaving him statically tied with his challenger. 

Worse for Evers is that he is considered one of the least popular governors in the country, according to data from Morning Consult published last month. Ranking 46th out of 50th, Evers has a 47 percent disapproval rating, while 46 percent approve. The data comes from April 1, June 30, 2022. The race is considered a "Toss-Up."

Should he lose in November, Evers will have only served one term. He defeated former Gov. Scott Walker (R) in 2018's close race, with 49.5 percent of the vote to Walker's 49.4 percent. Walker had been seeking his third term. 

Evers made news last week for his tone-deaf remarks about the two year anniversary of the Kenosha riots. "It's a dead issue, obviously we want Kenosha to recover and move to a better place, but at the end of the day, blaming me for that situation is just dead wrong and it's just politics as usual," a statement from his office said in part. 


The other incumbent, Sen. Johnson is also behind in the polls against his Democratic challenger, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. 

Though not as slight as Evers' lead, Barnes is still only slightly leading, with 49.4 percent support to Johnson's 47.1 percent. That difference, of 2.3 percent is also within the margin of error and less than the 3.5 percent of undecided voters.

The Wisconsin poll was conducted August 22-25, with 1,091 likely general election voters and a margin of error of 2.9 percent. 

Sen. Johnson has been considered to be one of the more vulnerable incumbents of either party. He ranked third on a RollCall list from May, and that same month POLITICO considered the race to be a "Toss-Up." In June, Max Greenwood wrote for The Hill that "Outside of Pennsylvania, the Senate race in Wisconsin is one of Democrats’ best chances of flipping a Republican-held seat." CNN in July noted his seat is considered competitive, though they still consider it to "Tilt Republican."

That being said, the forecasters don't consider a Barnes win to be a foregone conclusion. Decision Desk HQ considered the race to be "Solid Republican" last month, before Barnes was declared the nominee, with Johnson having about 95 percent chance of re-election. That's been only slightly altered, to a 92.9 percent chance, with the race now being "Likely Republican."


Although Cook Political Report considers the race to be a "Toss-Up," Sabato's Crystal Ball has it as "Lean Republican" and Inside Elections has it as "Tilt Republican."

Trafalgar, which has been among the most consistent polls in previous cycles and has an A- rating from FiveThirtyEight, has conducted a series of other polls in key battleground races, many of which are close. 

This included last week's Pennsylvania races, where the Democratic senatorial and gubernatorial candidates both have only slight leads. Other noteworthy polls include in Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Gov. Steve Sisolak, both Democratic incumbents, are down. In Arizona's open gubernatorial race, Republican Kari Lake is also slightly leading her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs. 

"Trafalgar" was trending over Twitter on Sunday as a result of the poll results released earlier that day. 

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