Scott Walker Polls: Wisconsin Governor Trails Tony Evers

scott walker polls

Getty/Facebook Wisconsin governor's race polls between Scott Walker and Tony Evers are coming out.

Is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in trouble? As the cliche goes, a month is a lifetime in politics, and Democrats haven’t even picked their nominee yet. However, two recent polls show Walker trailing one of the Democratic contenders, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers.

There have only been three polls measuring an Evers/Walker contest since June 2018, according to RealClearPolitics. Walker led in the first, but he’s trailing in the more recent two. That gives Evers an average lead of +5.4% in the RCP polling average for Wisconsin governor. Evers, of course, still needs to prevail against his many Democratic primary opponents for a chance to face Walker in the general election.

The first poll to raise eyebrows in the Wisconsin governor’s race came from NBC News/Marist on July 26, 2018. However, Evers’ lead over Walker in that poll was so large it caused some to wonder if that poll was an outlier. On July 30, 2018, though, a new poll by Emerson College showed Evers with a smaller, but still significant, lead over Walker, who previously warned of a possible looming “blue wave” in the state.

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Scott Walker.

Also causing Republican concern: A closely-watched and hotly contested state Supreme Court race went to the liberal-backed candidate in spring 2018, reversing the trend of past elections. Democrats also flipped two legislative seats. Walker is a two-term governor who survived a heated recall over his collective bargaining reforms and who staged a failed bid for president in 2016 during the Republican primary.

Of course, polls are not always accurate. A declining number of reliable political polls across the country was one reason given for the widespread polling error in predicting the Donald Trump victory in 2016; the presidential polls were wrong on Trump in Wisconsin too, although whether that sort of polling error would carry over into a gubernatorial race is unclear due to the wildcard nature of the Trump candidacy and personality.

In 2014, the RCP polling average correctly predicted that Walker would prevail over Democrat Mary Burke.

tony evers

Tony Evers

Evers is just one of multiple candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the August 14, 2018 primary. However, he’s polled at the head of that pack in all three polls, and as a statewide elected officeholder, he has more name recognition than some of his other primary challengers. However, the earliest poll showed that Evers remained fairly unknown in the state, with 45 percent not having heard enough about him to form an opinion. That presents an opportunity for both sides if he’s the nominee, whereas opinions on Walker are hardened in the polarized state due to his years in office and controversial measures on issues like collective bargaining.

According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert, the NBC/Marist poll sampled more Democrats, Marquette’s polls may tilt “slightly” Republican, and the Emerson poll sampled more college-educated people than typically exist in the electorate.

Here’s what the recent polls in the Wisconsin governor’s race show:

Emerson College [7/26/18 to 7/28/18]

Tony Evers 48%
Scott Walker 41%
Someone else 5%
Unsure 7%

The Emerson College poll, which was released on July 30, 2018, has a margin of error of +/-4.2 percent. It measured the attitudes of registered voters. You can read the poll here.

In addition to showing Evers leading Walker in a hypothetical match-up, the poll found that most Democrats support Evers to be their nominee, but more than one-third of Democratic primary voters remain undecided.

“The Democratic Primary for Governor appears to be breaking in the direction of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers with 30% of the vote. Only State Senator Kathleen Vinehout is the only other candidate in double digits at 10%, 33% of Democratic primary voters are still undecided (n=282,+/-6.3%),” the poll found.

As for an Evers-Walker match-up, the poll found that independents were breaking for Evers: “Evers appears in a strong position for a General Election run against incumbent Governor Scott Walker. Evers leads 48% to 41%, with 7% undecided. One variable that could factor in to the Evers lead is Governor Walker’s popularity in the state is underwater, with a 40% approval and 46% disapproval. Independents disapprove of Walker 47% to 36%, and break for Evers over Walker 47% to 34%,” the poll found.

Attitudes toward education spending might be playing a role in Evers’ lead, the poll indicates, as more than half of Democrats and Independents felt there was not enough spending on education in the state.

In the U.S. Senate race, the Emerson poll found Republicans Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson running neck-and-neck at 35 percent each but with 27 percent undecided, but incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, has a strong lead over either (although Nicholson comes closer).

NBC News/Marist [7/15/18 to 7/19/18]

Tony Evers 54%
Scott Walker 41%
Other Less than 1%
Undecided 5%

The NBC News/Marist poll measured registered voters, and it also showed Evers leading the Democratic primary field. You can see the poll here.

This poll showed a very different result in the U.S. Senate Republican primary than Emerson; it showed Nicholson leading Vukmir by a large margin (38% to 28%) with Baldwin defeating either Republican candidate.

The poll found that 61 percent of those polled felt that a new person should be given a chance as Wisconsin governor.

Marquette University [6/13/18 to 6/17/18]

Scott Walker 48%
Tony Evers 44%
Neither 3%
Don’t know 5%

The Marquette poll showed Walker leading against Evers and also against other possible Democratic challengers, although in some cases by smaller margins than against Evers.

The Marquette poll also showed Evers leading his primary challengers, but by smaller margins. You can see the poll here.

The poll also found that, at that stage, a lot of people didn’t know enough about the Democratic candidates to have an opinion of them.

The Marquette poll correctly predicted that Walker would defeat his 2014 Democratic challenger Mary Burke in its last pre-election poll that year.