Most Read: Politics

Behind the Numbers
Posted at 11:56 PM ET, 11/02/2010

Exit poll: Johnson, Walker victories in Wisconsin

The G.O.P. wave has reached Wisconsin. A dramatic swing among independent voters helped derail Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold's bid for a fourth term against Republican businessman Ron Johnson. In the Governor's race, Republican Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker defeated Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

In the Senate race, the 27 percent of voters who identify as independents broke 55 to 43 percent in favor of Johnson. Six years ago, when Feingold faced Republican businessman Tim Michels, these voters broke 62 to 35 percent in the Democrat's favor.

Thirty-nine percent of Wisconsin voters also said Feingold's positions on the issues were too liberal. About half, 47 percent, said they were about right, and eight percent said they were too conservative.

As nationally, the economy was at the top of Wisconsin voters' minds: 65 percent said it was the most pressing issue, and these voters backed Johnson by a 54 to 45 percent margin. So-called "economy" voters supported Walker over Barrett by a similar 56 to 44 percent split.

Fully 50 percent Wisconsin voters said they were "very worried" about the nation's economy. These voters favored Johnson by a 68 to 31 percent split and voted for Walker by a 70 to 30 percent margin over Barrett.

President Obama loomed large in the Senate race: 27 percent said their vote in the U.S. Senate race was to support President Obama, 34 percent said their vote was against Obama, and 37 percent said the 44th president was not a factor in their decision.

Overall, 46 percent approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, while 53 percent disapprove. Disapprovers backed Johnson by an overwhelming 86 to 13 percent margin.

Despite extensive spending on televised ads on both sides, six in 10 Wisconsinites said they were "not too concerned" or "not at all concerned" about the large amount of his own money that Johnson spent on his campaign, according to the early polls.

Source: Exit poll conducted by Edison Media Research for the National Election Pool, The Washington Post and other media organizations. The National Election Pool (NEP) is a consortium of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News and the Associated Press,

By Kyle Dropp  |  11:56 PM ET, 11/02/2010

Categories:  Exit polls | Tags:  barrett, feingold, johnson, walker, wisconsin

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company