Wisconsin 2018 U.S. Senate General Election and Republican Primary Survey Release

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Wisconsin 2018 US Senate General Election and Republican Primary Surveys

Wisconsin 2018 General Election and Republican Primary Survey Results

Magellan Strategies has released the results of a live landline and cell phone survey of 500 likely 2018 general election voters and two surveys of 300 likely Republican primary voters in the state of Wisconsin. The interviews were conducted from February 9th to 16th, 2017. The general election survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.38%, and the Republican primary surveys have a margin of error of +/- 5.66% at the 95% confidence interval. The surveys were slightly weighted to reflect past Republican primary and general election voter turnout demographics. This survey research was commissioned by the Committee to Defend the President.

Key Findings

  • Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke would be very competitive in a Republican primary election for the U.S. Senate if he chooses to enter the race. Two separate Republican primary surveys (one with candidate titles and one without) show David Clarke statistically tied with Congressman Sean Duffy in one survey and leading in another.
  • There is room for Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke’s support to grow, with 48% of Wisconsin voters having never heard of him. As more voters learn about his record as Milwaukee County Sheriff, it is likely he could become a strong general election candidate.

Baldwin-Clarke 2018 U.S. Senate Ballot Test

In a potential match-up between U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, we find Tammy Baldwin leading by 14 points, 49% to 35% respectively and 14% of voters being undecided. There are significant differences in support along gender lines. Tammy Baldwin leads by 4 points among men, 44% to 40%, and 23 points, 54% to 31% among women. However, Wisconsin has a history of very close elections for the United States Senate. The winning candidate’s percentage in the last three U.S. Senate contests (2010, 2012 and 2016) did not exceed 52%. Considering Sheriff David Clarke’s low name recognition among general election voters, we would expect that the 2018 election between these two candidates would be close if this match-up materialized.

The fact is that nobody knows what the national political environment will be for federal elections next year. However, it is a given that Republican candidates will be defending the policies of the Trump Administration and the Republican majority in Congress and that Democrats will be opposing those policies every step of the way. There is no better example of that forecast than a potential Baldwin-Clarke 2018 contest. The following table shows the Baldwin-Clarke ballot test results by voter subgroup.

Tammy Baldwin Image Rating

Despite Tammy Baldwin’s early showing of strength against two lesser-known Republican challengers, her support is just under 50%. Tammy Baldwin’s image rating ratio is nearly 1 to 1, with 45% of voters having a favorable opinion of her and 39% having an unfavorable opinion of her. Among male voters her image rating is slightly upside down with 41% of having a favorable opinion of her and 45% having an unfavorable opinion. Aside from voters who consider themselves a Democrat, Tammy Baldwin is also well liked among voters who are 44 or younger, moderate, and female.

Tammy Baldwin Job Approval

Tammy Baldwin’s job approval ratio is stronger than her image rating ratio, with 49% of voters approving of the job she is doing, 34% disapproving and 17% of respondents not having an opinion. The following table shows Tammy Baldwin’s image rating by voter subgroup.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Image Rating Among General Election Voters

The survey tested Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s image rating among general election voters and likely Republican primary voters. Among general election voters, Sheriff Clarke’s image ratio is 1 to 1, with 22% of respondents having a favorable opinion of him and 20% an unfavorable opinion. Ten percent of voters have heard of Sheriff Clarke and do not have an opinion of him, and 48% of voters have never heard of him.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Image Rating Among GOP Primary Voters

At the client’s request, two 300n surveys were fielded among likely 2018 Republican Primary voters, testing the image rating and support for Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and Congressman Sean Duffy. One survey read the title of each potential candidate and the other did not, to see if there was a difference in voter opinion. It is important to note that Sean Duffy announced his decision to forgo the U.S. Senate election. However, we still were interested in seeing how Sheriff David Clarke’s support holds up in a primary match-up with Sean Duffy. The following tables show image rating data for “David Clarke” and “Sheriff David Clarke”.

Not surprisingly, when Sheriff David Clarke’s title is used in the image rating question his numbers improve significantly compared to the “David Clarke” image rating. This is likely because among Republican Primary voters, he is often identified as “Sheriff Clarke” rather than “David Clarke”.

Clarke-Duffy 2018 Republican Primary Ballot Test

Congressman Sean Duffy announced he would not run for the U.S. Senate when we were fielding the Republican primary survey. However, had there been a Republican Primary election between these two men it is apparent that Sheriff David Clarke would have had a slight, 6-point lead at the beginning of the race. What we can learn from this survey is that if David Clarke does enter the race, he would be competitive in the Republican Primary, since Congressman Duffy was considered one of the frontrunners before announcing that he would forgo a run.


Wisconsin has been a political battleground going back to the 2010 election cycle, and it is very likely that the 2018 U.S. Senate election will be a close one as well. In the last three U.S. Senate elections in Wisconsin (2010, 2012 and 2016), the winning candidate never received more than 52% of the vote. The candidate who wins the Republican Primary will play a large factor in determining whether that trend continues, and once that candidate begins working to increase his or her name ID among general election voters, we expect that the ballot test in this race would tighten.

Survey Commissioned By

This survey was commissioned by the Committee to Defend the President.

About Magellan Strategies

Magellan Strategies offers a wide array of services to candidate campaigns, ballot issue campaigns, government relations firms, trade associations, and local and county governments. Our services include polling, survey research, focus groups, voter data mining, voter data analysis, and campaign consulting and management. Our offices are located in Louisville, Colorado. To learn more about our company please visit http://www.MagellanStrategies.com or call 303-861-8585.

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By | 2017-05-24T03:25:48+00:00 February 21st, 2017|