Marquette Poll: Republican Ron Johnson Takes Lead over Radical Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin 

Ron Johnson
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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has taken the lead over radical challenger Mandela Barnes in the Wisconsin Senate race, a Marquette Law School poll found Wednesday.

After trailing 45 percent to 52 percent in August, Johnson now leads Barnes by one point (49 percent to 48 percent). Barne’s favorability rating has also plummeted. Only 38 percent approved, while 41 percent disapproved of the Democrat, down from 43-27 percent in August.

The poll represents a notable turnaround in potential fortunes for one of the most radical-left candidates in the 2022 cycle. Barnes, who mostly evaded the national spotlight before August, has been put in it since Labor Day, when midterm campaigns heat up.

The radical Democrat has been the focus of intense pressure from Johnson, a conservative incumbent who has slammed Barnes for supporting President Joe Biden’s inflationary policies, advocating for allowing felons to retain the right to vote, and defunding what Barnes calls “over-bloated” police departments, all while spending large amounts of state money (he is the lieutenant governor) on security for himself during a crime wave in the state. According to a MacIver Institute, murders increased 62 percent, and violent crime rose 8.85 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has also made considerable investments in the race, highlighting Barnes’s soft on crime policies. Scott’s early investment seems to be paying big dividends, despite Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) negative perception of Scott’s management of the committee.

“Unfortunately, many of the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are now trying to stop us from winning the majority this time by trash-talking our Republican candidates,” Scott pushed back in the beginning of September.

Besides Barnes’s soft on crime policies, he has pushed for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), permitting driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, and giving in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants. He favors an entirely government-run healthcare system, eliminating the Senate filibuster, packing the Supreme Court, and passing the Green New Deal. Barnes also derided small business owners as “selfish” for wanting to serve customers during the pandemic.

The Marquette Law School poll sampled likely Wisconsin voters. The timeline, number of respondents, and margin of error were not immediately available.

FiveThirtyEight categorizes the Johnson-Barnes senate race as a tossup. However, the New York Times wrote Monday pollsters could be overestimating the strength of Democrat senate candidates with “persistent and unaddressed biases in survey research.”

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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