While Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes is narrowly preferred over incumbent Ron Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate race, Johnson’s supporters have the enthusiasm. 

A Fox News survey of Wisconsin voters finds Barnes ahead of Johnson by 50-46%, an advantage within the survey’s margin of error. 

Fox News Poll - WI Senate

Fox News Poll - WI Senate (Fox News)


At the same time, more of Johnson’s backers (66%) than those supporting Barnes (57%) do so "enthusiastically," as three times as many of those favoring Barnes say their support is about disliking Johnson.

Fox News Poll - WI Candidate Support

Fox News Poll - WI Candidate Support (Fox News)

The race is tied among voters who say they are "extremely" motivated to vote in November (49% each) and Barnes is up by 2 points among those who feel certain they will vote (49-47%).

Overall, Barnes is helped by strong backing among moderates (+37), suburban women (+30), voters ages 65 and over (+23), and voters with a college degree (+16).

He also enjoys greater party loyalty, as 96% of Democrats back him vs. 91% of Republicans for Johnson.  The small subgroup of independents favor Barnes by two-to-one.

Johnson’s best groups include White evangelical Christians (+31 points), men without a college degree (+17), men (+10), rural voters (+8), and voters under age 45 (+6). 

Johnson won re-election in 2016 by 3.4 percentage points. 

"Geographically, Barnes has cut into Johnson's support in the exurban and rural parts of the state," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who jointly conducts Fox News surveys with Democrat Chris Anderson. "Johnson has to regain these voters and cut his losses with suburban women if he's to retain his seat."

Inflation is the top concern for Wisconsin voters. Twenty-eight percent say that will be most important to their vote for Senate, followed by 17% who say abortion and 15% election integrity and voting rights.

Fox News Poll - WI Voters Issues

Fox News Poll - WI Voters Issues (Fox News)

Inflation voters prefer Johnson by 56 points.  Those prioritizing abortion go heavily for Barnes, by 72 points, while election integrity/voting rights voters favor him by 13. 

Fox News Poll - WI Voters Issues if Election Held Today

Fox News Poll - WI Voters Issues if Election Held Today (Fox News)

A majority of 55% of Wisconsin voters disapproves of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, and those voters largely back Barnes (by 67 points).  Those approving of the Dobbs decision (37%) widely favor Johnson (by 83 points).

Johnson’s favorable rating is net negative by 6 points (45% favorable vs. 51% unfavorable).  Barnes is in net positive territory by 13 (48-35%), but he’s also less well known. Some 17% are unable to rate him compared to just 4% for Johnson. 

Meanwhile, more voters are extremely or very concerned that Johnson’s views are too extreme (44%) than feel that way about Barnes (30%). 

Fox News Poll - WI Candidates Views

Fox News Poll - WI Candidates Views (Fox News)

"If voters see an extreme candidate in this race, it’s Johnson," says Anderson. "Even among Republicans, it’s a small majority that are concerned Barnes is too extreme, while nearly all Democrats say the same about Johnson. And independents are much more likely to think Johnson is too extreme than to feel that way about Barnes."

When asked to compare their family’s financial situation to two years ago, two and a half times as many say things are worse (45%) than better (17%).  For about 4 in 10, it’s the same. 

Elected in 2018, Gov. Tony Evers ousted Republican incumbent Scott Walker by about 1 point.

Today, half of Wisconsin voters approve of the job Evers is doing -- and that’s how many would re-elect him. He’s preferred over Republican challenger Tim Michels by 3 points, 49% to 46%. 

Fox News Poll - WI Gov

Fox News Poll - WI Gov (Fox News)


Evers is also up by 3 points among those saying they are certain to vote in November (50-47%), while the race is tied at 49% apiece among those saying they’re extremely motivated to vote.

Overall, 96% of Democrats back Evers compared to 91% of Republicans for Michels.  Independents favor Evers by more than 20 points.

In addition to party loyalty, Evers owes his advantage to strong support among voters ages 65 and over, moderates, those with a college degree, and women -- in particular, suburban women. 

Favorable views of the candidates match the vote. Half have a positive opinion of Evers (50% favorable, 47% unfavorable) and just under half view Michels favorably (46-41%).

In 2020, President Biden topped former President Trump by less than one percentage point in the Badger State. The survey finds that while both have negative personal ratings, Biden remains a touch more popular. He’s underwater by 6 points (46% favorable, 52% unfavorable), while Trump is underwater by 10 (44-54%).

By a 54-45% margin, Wisconsin voters feel extremely or very confident that 2020 presidential election ballots were cast legitimately and counted accurately in their state. About 9 in 10 of those who are confident in the voting process favor Barnes and Evers, while about 9 in 10 of those lacking confidence back Johnson and Michels. 


Conducted August 12-16, 2022, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News surveys include interviews with 1,006 Wisconsin registered voters randomly selected from a statewide voter file and who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.  

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.