Republican Sen. Ron Johnson Leads Mandela Barnes By Four; Democratic Governor Tony Evers in Two Point Race With​ Tim Michels

The first Emerson College Polling survey of the Wisconsin November general election finds Republican incumbent Ron Johnson with a four point lead over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, leading 48% to 44%. Six percent are undecided, and 3% plan to support someone else. Regardless of whom they support, 54% expect Johnson to win, while 46% expect Barnes to win.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “Johnson’s support for US Senate increases with voters’ age; 52% of voters under 35 support Barnes, voters between 35 and 49 are split with 46% supporting Johnson and 45% Barnes, voters between 50 and 64 break for Barnes 49% to 43%, and 54% of voters over 65 support Johnson.”

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters have a favorable view of Senator Johnson while 48% have an unfavorable view of Johnson. Forty-five percent (45%) view Lieutenant Governor Barnes favorably, while 46% have an unfavorable view of Barnes; 9% are unsure. 

In the gubernatorial election, 45% plan to support incumbent Governor Tony Evers, while 43% support Republican challenger Tim Michels, and 4% support Independent Joan Ellis Beglinger. Seven percent are undecided. A majority of voters expect Evers to win while 46% expect Michels to win. 

Forty-seven percent (47%) hold a favorable view of Governor Evers, while 49% have an unfavorable view of him. Forty-six percent (46%) have a favorable view of Tim Michels, 44% have an unfavorable view, while 9% are unsure. 

In a hypothetical matchup between President Biden and former President Trump, Biden leads Trump by a point, 45% to 44%, 9% would support someone else and 2% are undecided. President Biden currently holds a 41% approval rating among Wisconsin voters, while 53% disapprove of the job he is doing as president. 

A slight plurality of voters (36%) say the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago makes them less likely to support Trump in 2024, 35% say it makes them more likely, and 30% say it makes no difference on their vote. 

The economy is the most important issue for 46% of Wisconsin voters, followed by abortion access (17%), healthcare (9%), immigration (6%), and crime (5%).


The Emerson College Polling Wisconsin poll was conducted September 16-18, 2022. The sample consisted of very likely voters, n=860, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.27 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, and education, based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample using SMS-to-web, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, web survey via email, and an online panel.