To: Interested Parties
From: Jim McLaughlin & Curt Anderson, LAW Advisers
Re: Wisconsin Senate Race Now Too Close to Call
Date: August 29, 2016

The most recent Wisconsin survey shows Ron Johnson is closing the gap and the race for U.S. Senate is now up for grabs. Ron Johnson is now in a statistical tie with Russ Feingold. The results highlight how Ron Johnson’s numbers are trending upwards while Russ Feingold’s numbers are weakening.

There is evidence suggesting that race will get even tighter as the voters become more informed about the candidates. There are key variables favoring Ron Johnson. The majority of Wisconsin voters say they want to move in a different direction, away from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s policies.

In addition, on the critical issue of national security and fighting terrorism, the voters believe Ron Johnson is the better candidate to keep America safe and protect us from terrorism. Ron Johnson has improved his numbers and going in to Labor Day, Johnson is in a position to win. With the right amount of resources, Ron Johnson will defeat Russ Feingold in November’s general election…again.

Key Findings

  • Ron Johnson has closed the ballot gap into a statistical tie. In the previous survey just three weeks ago at the beginning of August right after the Democrat National Convention, Russ Feingold had a 6-point lead (49.7% to 44.2%). In the recent survey, Ron Johnson improved his ballot score and is within 3-points of Russ Feingold (49.6% to 46.6%), which is within the margin of error (+/- 4.0%) of the survey.
  • Ron Johnson’s core vote is nearly the same as Russ Feingold’s core vote (36.8% definitely Johnson to 37.4% definitely Feingold).
  • Virtually three-quarters (74%) have an opinion of both Ron Johnson and Russ Feingold. Among this group, the ballot is deadlocked at 49.2% to 49.2%. These numbers suggest the ballot could tighten even further as voters become more informed about the candidates.
  • Ron Johnson’s opinion ratings are trending positive. In the previous survey he had a 39.2% favorable to 41.8% unfavorable rating (-2.6 points). Now, his favorable rating is 42.7% favorable to 36.0 unfavorable (+6.7 points), which is a net positive movement of 9.3 points. Johnson’s job rating was 43.3% approve to 43.2% disapprove. His job rating has improved by a net of 5.9 points (45.8% approve to 40% disapprove).
  • Conversely, Russ Feingold’s opinion rating is headed in the wrong direction. His previous opinion rating was 50.0% favorable to 37.0 unfavorable (+13.0 points). His opinion rating is worse now at 45.9% favorable to 38.6% unfavorable (+7.3 points), which is a net negative movement of 5.7 points.
  • The majority (55.7% to 39.3%) is more likely to vote for a candidate for U.S. Senate who will move in a different direction rather than a candidate who will support and continue the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Independents prefer a different direction with conservative ideas 58.9% to 33.3%.
  • By a 13-point margin, the plurality (47.2% to 34.5%) believes Ron Johnson is better than Russ Feingold to keep America safe and protect us from terrorism. Independents see Johnson as the stronger candidate on this issue 45.1% to 36.3%. This is a critical advantage for Ron Johnson considering national security and fighting terrorism is a top priority among voters.

To view more data from this survey, please review the slides presented below this memo.


These Wisconsin surveys were conducted among 600 likely general election voters between July 30th – August 1st and August 21st – 22nd. The July 30th – August 1st survey was in the field soon after the Democratic National Convention. 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.

State wide poll