WISCONSIN SURVEY: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

To: Interested Parties
From: JIM MCLAUGHLIN, MCLAUGHLIN & ASSOCIATES
Re: WISCONSIN SURVEY: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Date: October 24, 2016


SUMMARY:

The ballot for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin is in a statistical tie heading into the final weeks of the election. The ballot is deadlocked among voters who have heard of both candidates or have an opinion of both candidates. The race is polarized with both candidates maximizing their vote among their political base, but Ron Johnson has the advantage among Independents who will most likely decide the election. Ron Johnson is running ahead of Donald Trump, indicating that Johnson’s ability to win isn’t directly tied to Trump’s numbers. The biggest difference between Ron Johnson and Donald Trump is Johnson is stronger among Independents.

There are key variables favoring Ron Johnson. The majority of Independents want to move in a different direction, away from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s policies. The plurality of voters see Ron Johnson as the stronger candidate on helping grow the economy and creating jobs, keeping America safe and protecting us from terrorism, and brining change and reform to the U.S. Senate. With the right amount of resources, Ron Johnson can defeat Russ Feingold in November’s general election.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • The ballot for U.S. Senate is in a statistical tie, 48% Russ Feingold to 46% Ron Johnson, with Libertarian Phil Anderson getting 2% and 4% undecided.
  • Feingold’s very slim 2-point lead is based on soft voters who are only “leaning” his way. The “lean” Feingold vote is 3% compared to Johnson’s 1%. The candidates share a similar core vote (45.2% Johnson to 44.8% Feingold).
  • The race is polarized with Johnson getting 92% from Republicans and Feingold receiving 92% from Democrats. Johnson is leading among Independents 48% to 45%.
  • Among the 97% who have heard of both candidates, the ballot is tied at 47% (2% Anderson & 4% undecided). Among the 84% who have an opinion of both candidates, the ballot is tied at 48% (2% Anderson & 2% undecided).
  • A plurality (49% to 44%) is more likely to vote for a U.S. Senate candidate who will move in a different direction with conservative ideas rather than a candidate who will support and continue the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The majority of Independents (53% to 40%) prefer a candidate who will move in a different direction with conservative ideas.
  • Ron Johnson has the advantage on key issues. The voters consider Ron Johnson as the better candidate than Russ Feingold to “help grow the economy and create jobs” (46% to 40%); “to keep America safe and protect us from terrorism” (47% to 35%); and “bring change and reform to the U.S. Senate” (43% to 40%).
  • Ron Johnson’s opinion rating is 45% favorable to 42% unfavorable. The opinion rating of Russ Feingold is 49% favorable to 42% unfavorable.
  • At the top of the ticket, Clinton is leading Trump 48% to 43% (4% Johnson, 1% Stein & 4% undecided). Clinton is getting 97% of the Democratic vote while Trump has 90% of the Republican vote. Trump is leading among Independents 42% to 38%.
  • Survey Party Affiliation: 35% Democratic, 30% Republican & 32% Independent

METHODOLOGY:

This Wisconsin survey was conducted among 600 likely general election voters between October 18-20, 2016. All interviews were conducted by professional interviewers via telephone. The sample included a mix of 70% landline and 30% cell phone interviews. Interview selection was at random within predetermined election units. These units were structured to statistically correlate with actual voter distributions in a general election. The accuracy of the samples of 600 likely general election voters is within +/- 4.0% at a 95% confidence interval.