Priebus, who used to lead both the Wisconsin Republican Party and the Republican National Committee prior to becoming former President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff, told Jay Weber on News Talk 1130 WISN Monday that data collected by both organizations show independent and undecided voters breaking for Republicans.
“When given the choice between [Democratic Gov.] Tony Evers and [U.S. Senate candidate] Mandela Barnes on the issues of education and crime—and in the case of Ron Johnson, inflation, gas, groceries—all of these things that are at the forefront of voters’ minds, by a longshot the Republicans are doing much better,” he added.
Priebus says he doesn’t have an early or absentee vote count in the state, but that Republicans appear to be doing better than in 2020 when there was a flood of Democrats who voted early.
He said Republicans, by and large, do most of their voting on Election Day.
Polls show both the race for U.S. Senate and governor in Wisconsin are essentially tied, though the last Marquette Law School Poll did give Ron Johnson a slight, two-point lead.
Priebus said if the polls show Michels and Johnson that close, it could be a comfortable victory for Republicans in Wisconsin.
“Look at Real Clear Politics, look at Walker–Evers in 2018. [Gov. Walker] out-performed that average,” Priebus said. “He was minus-two-and-a-half, minus-three, minus-four. Leading up to the election there were polls that had him minus-five, minus-six, minus-seven. Republicans don’t underperform in public polls.”
Gov. Walker lost that 2018 race by about 40,000 votes, which is a 1% spread.
In a newly released pollster reliability ranking, RCP put Marquette in the middle to lower half, indicating that its past polls since 2016 had penalized Republicans by about 3.4 percentage points.
Priebus said he will be watching voter data from East Coast states to see if Republicans are going to have a good night Tuesday. But he said Wisconsin voters should watch three specific counties.
“I’d look at Brown County. I’d look to see how that’s breaking,” Priebus explained. “Then I’d combine Racine and Kenosha. If you look at those two counties in combination … if they are going for Ron Johnson and Tim Michels, forget about it. It’s done.”