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Poll showing close race means voter turnout key to elections

Mitch Reynolds

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It’s going to be a close one. At least that’s what the Wisconsin governor’s race is looking like after the release of the first polling after this month’s primary.

Gov. Scott Walker and state superintendent Tony Evers are pretty much in a dead heat, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll.

That means getting out the vote efforts are essential, says La Crosse Democratic Party co-chair Michael Smuksta, and the stakes are incredibly high.

“People don’t tend to think off-year elections are as important as presidential elections,” he said, “but I’ve heard it from both sides — both Republican and Democratic sides — that this is one of the most important off-year elections of their lifetime.”

Marquette’s just-released poll found that 46 percent of likely voters favor Walker and 46 percent also favor Evers in the governor’s race, with almost nobody undecided. Libertarian Phil Anderson did collect 6 percent among likely voters, as well.

What that is turnout will be important.

“We can always count on the party activists and the people who vote in all the primaries all the time,” Smuksta said. “They’re going to vote in the general election. It’s those voters who sometimes don’t vote, so we’re concentrating on those.

“We really need to get the groups that normally don’t turn out — and millenials don’t have a great record so far in off-year elections.”

The same poll also found the Wisconsin’s senate race basically even among likely voters.

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