Results from the Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday shows Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers leading the field of Democrats running for governor. According to the poll, 31 percent of Democrats favor Evers while the rest of the Democratic candidates are in single digits.

The poll was conducted July 11-15, 2018, and has a margin of error of +/- 6.6 percent for the Democratic primary, +/- 4.1 percent overall. The Democratic primary for governor is August 14. The winner will take on Governor Scott Walker in November.

The two “closest” competitors to Evers in the Democratic primary are Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and union boss Mahlon Mitchell, each with six percent of vote which is less than the margin of error. Rounding out the rest of the field are Matt Flynn with five percent, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin with four percent, Kelda Roys and Mike McCabe with three percent each, and Josh Pade with no support.

Support for Evers has grown from 18 percent in March to 31 percent in July. Evers started the campaign with higher name recognition as he was the only candidate who had successfully run a statewide race, winning election three times to his current position of state schools superintendent.

However, a high percentage of Democratic primary voters still don’t know enough about the candidates to have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates running for governor. Only Evers comes close to a majority of Democrats having an opinion of him.

Table 2 from the Marquette poll: percentage unable to give favorable or unfavorable opinion of Democratic candidates

Unable to All Reg. Voters Dem & Lean Dem Dem Primary Voters
Tony Evers 60 54 51
Matt Flynn 74 77 78
Mike McCabe 84 86 84
Mahlon Mitchell 85 86 82
Josh Pade 93 96 95
Kelda Roys 89 88 87
Paul Soglin 71 69 65
Kathleen Vinehout 75 71 69

Meanwhile, Walker’s approval rating continues to be positive, with 47 percent approving of the job the governor is doing and 45 percent disapproving of the job Walker is doing. The poll also showed most Wisconsinites, 52 percent, continue to think the state is moving in the right direction while just 42 percent think the state is on the wrong track.

Democrats continue to enjoy an enthusiasm gap with 69 percent of Democrats very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s elections compared to 62 of Republicans. Wisconsin Democrats may also benefit from President Donald Trump’s low approval rating of 44 percent, with 50 percent disapproving of the job the president is doing.

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