Emerson College Polling’s final survey of Republican primary voters in Wisconsin finds former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and businessman Tim Michels in a statistical dead heat prior to the August 9 election; 36% support Kleefisch, 34% Michels, 8% support Timothy Ramthun, and 14% are still undecided. When undecided voters were asked who they lean towards, voters bump Kleefisch up to 41% and Michels to 39%. 


“There is a clear regional divide for Wisconsin Republican voters,” says Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling.“ Kleefisch holds a 21-point lead over Michels among suburban Wisconsin voters, whereas Michels has a similar margin over Kleefisch among rural voters, leading by 15 points.” 

Thirty-nine percent of Republican voters say former President Trump’s endorsement makes them more likely to support a candidate, while 11% are less likely to support a candidate with Trump’s endorsement; nearly half (49%) say it makes no difference.

Both Kleefisch and Michels have net favorability ratings: 69% have a very (35%) or somewhat (34%) favorable view of Kleefisch while 74% have a very (37%) or somewhat (37%) favorable view of Michels. Nineteen percent of voters hold a somewhat (10%) or very (8%) unfavorable view of Kleefisch, similarly, 18% hold a somewhat (10%) or very (8%) unfavorable view of Michels. 

A majority of Republican primary voters (67%) say the economy is the most important issue facing Wisconsin. The only other issue to reach double digits is crime, at 11%.

Ninety-three percent of Republican primary voters in Wisconsin disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president, while 5% approve. 

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The Emerson College Polling survey of the Wisconsin Republican primary was conducted August 3-5, 2022. The sample consisted of very likely Republican primary voters, n=900, with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, region, and education based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample using SMS-to-web and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.