After trending towards Democrat Tony Evers over the last several months, the latest Marquette University Law School poll showed Gov. Scott Walker with a one point lead with about a month until Election Day.
Walker led Evers 47 to 46 percent among likely voters in the poll, which was taken Oct. 3 to Oct. 7. The poll included 799 likely voters for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
While the results are essentially a tie, they do reverse a trend over the last several polls where Evers had gone from down by 2 points to a tie to a 5 point lead.
Charles Franklin, MU Law poll director, said polling by other organizations has leaned slightly towards an Evers lead, but his results have shown a tighter race.
“I think that should reasonably be considered a toss-up race, no matter who’s polling your looking at,” he said.
Franklin also pointed out Republican’s had a 3 percentage point advantage in the composition of respondents in the most recent poll, compared to a 1 point advantage for Democrats in the September poll.
While the shift in the sample could account for the tightening in the race for governor, Franklin pointed out Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race did not have the same changes.
“Party is something, but it’s not everything,” Franklin said. “Individual races matter and what’s happening in them matters.”
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, led state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R- Wauwatosa, 53 to 42 percent and led 53 to 43 percent in the latest poll. The October poll was taken before the two candidates held a televised debate on Monday.
The shift in the race for governor appeared to primarily come among independents. In the September poll, Evers had a 20 point advantage over Walker, but in October the lead shrunk to just 6 points. Franklin remarked that independents have been key to Evers support in recent months.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with independents,” Franklin said. “They are the group that’s most likely to be moved and most likely to change their opinion as we go.”