The final Marquette University Law School poll before Tuesday’s election put the gubernatorial race between Scott Walker and Tony Evers as not just a virtual or statistical dead heat but an actual tie.
“It’s exactly the same number of respondents,” said Charles Franklin, MU Law Poll director. “Do I need to say that’s inside the margin of error?”
The poll included 1,154 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. Walker and Evers were each chosen by 546 of the respondents.
Over the course of the summer the Marquette poll has shown anything from Walker, the Republican incumbent, leading by 2 points to Evers, the Democratic challenger and state superintendent of public instruction, up by 5 points. Franklin said other pollsters have tended to show Evers with a slight lead.
“It’s hard to conclude anything other than a true toss-up race,” he said.
The poll does show a little more enthusiasm among Democrats. While the race is a tie among likely voters, Walker is up 47 to 44 percent among registered voters. There is a small trend toward Evers in higher turnout elections, but Franklin said the race will likely come down to which party mobilizes its voters on Election Day.
The top issues for voters included health care, K-12 education, jobs and the economy and roads. Evers had a strong lead among voters who said health care or education was their most issue while Walker had a lead among those emphasizing jobs and the economy.
For those who said roads were their top issue, Evers had a 50 to 47 percent edge over Walker.
Among independents, Evers held a 49 to 42 percent lead over Walker. In September, when the poll gave him a 5 point lead, Evers held a 20 point advantage over Walker among independents.
The U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin and Republican challenger Leah Vukmir is not as close as the governor’s race. Baldwin held a 54 to 43 percent lead in this poll, up slightly from a poll earlier this month.
“This race, in contrast to the governor’s race, has, in our data, mostly not been close,” Franklin said.