MILWAUKEE – More than three months remain until November’s election, but the presumed race for Wisconsin governor appears to be even.
The newest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday shows a statistical tie between Republican incumbent Scott Walker and Democrat challenger Mary Burke.
There is a difference when it comes to registered voters and those who say they will actually show up to vote in November, but overall not much has changed from a poll two months ago.
The latest Marquette University poll shows incumbent Walker with 46 percent of support from registered voters. Burke has 45 percent. This is within the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error.
St. Norbert College political science professor Wendy Scattergood says this is no surprise.
“We’ve seen this trending,” said Scattergood. “We’ve seen it get closer.”
But she says the attention should be on voters who haven’t formed an opinion. In the poll of registered voters, eight percent said they are not sure who they would support.
“That’s a very important aspect that people kind of overlook sometimes, they say, oh it’s a dead heat,” said Scattergood.
While Walker holds a small edge in the poll of registered voters, Burke has a slight lead among people who say they are likely to vote in November.
Burke leads 46 percent to 45 percent, also within the margin of error.
Scattergood says negative television ads, which both campaigns have aired this month, typically don’t impact undecided voters.
“It could have more of an affect perhaps on turnout than it could on actually changing someone’s vote, because most people don’t pay attention to that,” she said.
The overall survey numbers have barely shifted from the last Marquette poll in May. One notable change is with independent voters. Burke appears to be gaining ground with this coveted group.
In May’s Marquette poll, Walker led independents 49 percent to 40 percent. This month, his lead shrank to 45 percent to 44 percent.
The poll was conducted last week, and 804 registered voters across the state responded.
Both Burke and Walker reacted to the poll in statements.
A spokesperson for Walker said, “We’re confident that voters want to continue moving Wisconsin forward and have no desire to return to the failed policies of the past with Mary Burke.”
A spokesperson for Burke said, “Wisconsin voters know we need a new direction, and are responding enthusiastically to Mary’s comprehensive plan, based on her success in the private sector, to grow the economy and create more good paying jobs.”
Burke faces a primary challenge from State Rep. Brett Hulsey of Madison. Hulsey was not included in the Marquette poll. The primary election is August 12.