The latest Marquette Law School Poll finds that the Wisconsin governor’s race has tightened to a dead heat, with both Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke receiving the support of 46 percent of registered voters, while just 6 percent are undecided or say they do not know whom they would support.
That represents a significant tightening of the race from the previous Marquette Law School Poll in March, in which Walker led 48 to 41 percent.
Turnout in the fall election is likely to play an important role, according to Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll.
While the race is tied among all registered voters, among likely voters – those who say they are absolutely certain to vote in November – Walker receives 48 percent to Burke’s 45 percent, which is inside the +/-3.5 percentage point margin of error for the poll, Franklin said. Among those who are both certain to vote and who say they are excited about voting, Walker receives 50 percent to Burke’s 45 percent.
The poll interviewed 805 Wisconsin registered voters by landline and cell phone May 15 – 18.
“Turnout is one of the biggest unknowns of the fall election,” Franklin said, “Between now and Election Day, some voters will become more engaged by the election, while others may lose interest. These results show that the election outcome can change depending on turnout as both parties seek to mobilize their supporters.”
The fact that just 6 percent of the electorate is undecided is remarkable, according to NBC News analyst Jonathan Alter, who recently came to Milwaukee to accept the Milwaukee Press Club’s Sacred Cat Award.
“It shows how deeply polarized the Wisconsin electorate is. People have really dug in their heels about Scott Walker,” Alter said.