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Tammy Baldwin, Tony Evers mashup

Wisconsin's Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate show strong leads among likely voters according to a new Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics poll released on Wednesday.

According to the poll, conducted Sept. 14-21, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers leads Walker by seven points among likely voters. Evers' 50-43 lead over Gov. Scott Walker falls outside the poll's 3.4 point credibility interval for likely voters.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin holds a 13-point lead over Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir among likely voters in the same poll, with 52 percent of support to Vukmir's 39 percent. 

The poll, conducted online, sampled about 2,000 voting-age adults in Wisconsin, about 1,000 of whom identified as likely voters. The sample of likely voters included 529 Democrats, 448 Republicans and 81 independents.

The results of the Reuters/Ipsos/UVA poll are similar to the findings of a Marquette University Law School poll released on Sept. 18, which showed Evers up by five points among likely voters and Baldwin up by 11 points in the same group. The Marquette poll was conducted by phone. 

The Wisconsin results are being released with Reuters/Ipsos/UVA surveys of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, as part of an effort to check in on the states that pushed President Donald Trump toward victory in 2016, said Ipsos vice president Chris Jackson.

Wisconsin — and the Midwest, in general — looked "bluer" than pollsters expected it would, Jackson said in an interview. 

Jackson said the poll's results suggest that Wisconsin voters may be motivated in part by opposition to President Donald Trump, who has a 42 percent approval rating among likely voters throughout the state. That's close to his national approval rating, Jackson said, but on the low end for individual states.

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According to the survey, 42 percent of likely voters said they are motivated to vote for a candidate who will support the president, while 54 percent said they are motivated to vote for a candidate who will oppose him.

"'Backlash' might be too strong a word, but there’s definitely a reaction (to Trump) across the Midwest," Jackson said. 

Health care is the most important issue determining the vote of 20 percent of likely voters, followed by the economy at 15 percent and immigration at 11 percent. Those three issues have topped the list in most states where Reuters/Ipsos/UVA has polled, Jackson said, but immigration isn't as prominent an issue in Wisconsin as it has been in other states. 

Forty-nine percent of likely voters said they think Wisconsin is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 44 percent who said it's on the right track. The Marquette Poll asked the same question of registered voters, and found 50 percent said they think the state is headed in the right direction, while 47 percent said they think it's on the wrong track.

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.