Most voters in Wisconsin don’t know most of the candidates running for governor or U.S. Senator this fall. And just over half of voters in the state think Wisconsin is on “the wrong track.”
The latest Marquette Law School Poll shows the candidates running in this August’s primary have a lot of work to do connecting with the voters.
“The poll finds 51% of registered voters saying they don’t know whom they will support in the Republican primary for governor or the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate,” pollsters said on Wednesday. “Forty-six percent say they support one of the current candidates.”
Among the Republicans running for governor, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has the most name recognition at 50%. Eighty percent of Republican voters say they don’t know who Kevin Nicholson is, and 86% don’t know anything about Tim Ramthun.
In the Democratic race for U.S. Senate, the poll says 62% of voters haven’t heard of current Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Pollsters say 73% of voters haven’t heard of second-place candidate and son of the Milwaukee Bucks’ owner, Alex Lasry. The rest of the crowded field of Democrats was unrecognized by 85% or more of voters.
“It is not unusual to see half of registered voters undecided with more than five months to go before the primary, but the high percentage of undecided is a vivid reminder that the primaries are not uppermost in voters’ minds at this point,” pollsters noted.
On the issues, the Marquette Law School poll found more people think Wisconsin is “on the wrong track.”
Shortly after Gov. Tony Evers took office in 2019, Marquette pollsters say 57% of voters in the state thought Wisconsin was on the right track. Now, 53% say Wisconsin is headed in the wrong direction.
Voters are most concerned about inflation. The Marquette Law School poll shows 96% of voters in Wisconsin are at least somewhat concerned about the rising cost of everything from gas to groceries and homes.
Voters also seem to be increasing their trust in the 2020 presidential election.
The poll notes that 38% of Republican voters in the state now say they trust the outcome of the last presidential vote. That’s up from 29% in August of last year.
Democrats remain unflinching in their support for the 2020 election, with 96% of voters saying they trust the results. That number was 97% last summer.
This Marquette Law School poll interviewed 802 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone Feb. 22-27, 2022. The margin of error is +/-3.8 percentage points for the full sample.