Fox News poll: Barnes leads Johnson in Wisconsin Senate race


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While Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes is narrowly preferred to incumbent Ron Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate raceJohnson’s supporters are enthusiastic.

A Fox News survey of Wisconsin voters finds Barnes ahead of Johnson by 50 to 46 percent, an advantage within the survey’s margin of error.

Fox News Poll - WI Senate

Fox News Poll – WI Senate


At the same time, more Johnson supporters (66%) than Barnes supporters (57%) do so “enthusiastically,” as three times as many Barnes supporters say their support is about disliking Johnson.

Fox News Poll - Support for WI Candidates

Fox News Poll – Support for WI Candidates

The race is tied among voters who say they are “extremely” motivated to vote in November (49% each) and Barnes is up 2 points among those who feel certain to vote (49-47%).

Overall, Barnes is helped by strong support among moderates (+37), suburban women (+30), voters aged 65 and over (+23) and voters with college degrees. (+16).

He also enjoys greater loyalty to the party, because 96% of Democrats support him against 91% of Republicans for Johnson. The small subgroup of independents favor Barnes by two to one.

Johnson’s top groups include white evangelical Christians (+31 points), men without a college degree (+17), men (+10), rural voters (+8) and voters under 45 (+ 6).

Johnson was re-elected in 2016 by 3.4 percentage points.

“Geographically, Barnes has reduced Johnson’s support in suburban and rural areas of the state,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who jointly conducts Fox News surveys with Democrat Chris Anderson. “Johnson needs to find those voters and cut his losses with suburban women if he wants to keep his seat.”

Inflation is the top concern for Wisconsin voters. Twenty-eight percent say it will be most important to their vote in the Senate, followed by 17% who say abortion and 15% electoral integrity and voting rights.

Fox News Poll - WI Voter Issues

Fox News Poll – WI Voter Issues

Inflation voters favor Johnson by 56 points. Those who prioritize abortion go strongly for Barnes, by 72 points, while Election Integrity/Voting Rights voters favor him by 13.

Fox News Poll - WI Voters Problems If Election Happens Today

Fox News Poll – WI Voters Problems If Election Happens Today

55% Majority of Wisconsin Voters Disapprove of U.S. Supreme Court to spill Roe vs. Wade, and those voters overwhelmingly support Barnes (by 67 points). Those who approve of Dobbs decision (37%) largely favors Johnson (by 83 points).

Johnson’s favorable rating is net negative by 6 points (45% favorable vs. 51% unfavorable). Barnes is in net positive territory of 13 (48-35%), but he is also less well known. Some 17% are unable to rate it compared to just 4% for Johnson.

Meanwhile, more voters are extremely or very concerned that Johnson’s views are too extreme (44%) than Barnes (30%).

Fox News Poll - Opinions of WI Candidates

Fox News Poll – Opinions of WI Candidates

“If voters see an extreme candidate in this race, it’s Johnson,” Anderson said. “Even among Republicans, it’s a small majority who fear Barnes is too extreme, while almost all Democrats say the same about Johnson. And independents are far more likely to think Johnson is too extreme than to feel this about Barnes.”

When asked to compare their family’s financial situation to that of two years ago, two and a half times as many respondents say that the situation is worse (45%) than it is improving (17% ). For about 4 out of 10, it’s the same.

Elected in 2018, Governor Tony Evers was ousted Incumbent Republican Scott Walker by about 1 point.

Today, half of Wisconsin voters approve of the work Evers is doing — and that’s the number of people who would re-elect him. He is preferred to Republican challenger Tim Michels by 3 points, 49% to 46%.

Fox News Poll - WI Gov

Fox News Poll – WI Gov


Evers is also up 3 points among those who say they are certain to vote in November (50-47%), while the race is tied at 49% each among those who say they are extremely motivated to vote.

Overall, 96% of Democrats support Evers versus 91% of Republicans for Michels. The independents favor Evers by more than 20 points.

In addition to party loyalty, Evers owes her edge to strong support from voters aged 65 and older, moderates, college graduates and women, especially suburban women.

The favorable opinions of the candidates correspond to the vote. Half have a positive opinion of Evers (50% favorable, 47% unfavorable) and just under half have a favorable opinion of Michels (46-41%).

In 2020, President Biden passed former President Trump by less than a percentage point in Badger State. The survey reveals that while both have negative personal ratings, Biden remains somewhat more popular. He is underwater by 6 points (46% favorable, 52% unfavorable), while Trump is underwater by 10 (44-54%).

By a margin of 54-45%, voters in Wisconsin feel extremely or very confident that ballots for the 2020 presidential election were cast legitimately and counted accurately in their state. About 9 in 10 of those with confidence in the voting process favor Barnes and Evers, while about 9 in 10 of those who lack confidence support Johnson and Michels.


Conducted August 12-16, 2022, under the joint leadership of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Investigations include interviews with 1,006 registered Wisconsin voters randomly selected from a statewide voter registry who spoke with live interviewers on landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.

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