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New AARP poll shows Republicans leading in Wisconsin's major midterm races

Tom Arthur-commons.wikimedia.org

A new election poll from AARP found Republican candidates for major Wisconsin midterm races have narrow leads over their Democratic rivals.

The poll shows Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels with a 3 percent lead over Democratic incumbent Tony Evers.

It also shows Republican Senator Ron Johnson with a 5 percent lead over Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes.

AARP says the gap is partly because voters older than 50 are more likely to support the Republican candidates.

“In both races, the 50-plus electorate, which is going to be the majority of voters this fall – probably upwards of 60 percent – both Republican candidates have an even greater edge,” says Bob Ward, a partner for a firm that conducted the poll.

Among voters 50-plus, Michels’ lead over Evers grows to 5 percent, and Johnson’s lead over Barnes increases to 7 percent.

The poll found that both parties maximize support from their bases.

“Candidates from their respective parties are getting about 96 to 97 percent of their party bases,” says Matt Hogan, another polling partner. “That’s higher than we’ve seen in other states.”

This means candidates must appeal to independent voters to garner enough support for a win.

According to the poll, the top issues on voters’ minds are inflation and abortion.

Ward says the economy is the dominant issue for Republican voters, while Democratic voters are much more likely to be concerned about access to abortion.

However, seniors in both political parties also consistently list Social Security, Medicare, cost of prescription drugs and long-term care for seniors as critically important issues.

“So, if you’re a candidate looking to reach these voters, these issues are made to connect with voters 50-plus regardless of their political stripes,” Ward says.

The AARP poll also found that 90 percent of voters older than 50 say they are extremely motivated to turn out for the November election.

About three-quarters of respondents said they think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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