The survey largely has good news for Democrats in Wisconsin only two years after President Donald Trump narrowly won the state. National Republicans have put effort into boosting both Walker and Vukmir. Trump tweeted his support for the governor in August. Only Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence dropped into the state to support both GOP candidates.
The survey broadly shows Wisconsin has strayed away from Trump despite playing a pivotal role in his surprising ascent to the White House. Among likely voters, 45 percent approve of the president, versus 50 percent who disapprove, according to the NBC/Marist poll. The figures include 29 percent who strongly approve and 41 percent who strongly disapprove.
In the broader battle for control of Congress, 49 percent of likely voters said they want a Democratic legislative branch, versus 43 percent who prefer Republicans. Half of respondents in that voter pool said they are more likely to vote for a Democrat in their district, while 44 percent say they would probably support a Republican.
In addition, more than half — or 53 percent — of likely voters said they want to send a message that more Democrats need to be in Congress to check Trump. Only 40 percent responded that they want more Republicans to boost the president's agenda.
Trump's recently confirmed Supreme Court choice Brett Kavanaugh also did not fare well in Wisconsin. Only 33 percent of voters said they are more likely to back a candidate who supported the justice's confirmation, while 42 percent said they would prefer to vote for a candidate who opposed him.
Baldwin voted against Kavanaugh's ascent to the Supreme Court. In a statement issued on the day of his confirmation, she contended the justice "lacks the judicial temperament" and "independence" to serve on the Supreme Court. She also raised concerns about him jeopardizing insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and women's reproductive rights.
Vukmir said she would have backed the new justice.
The GOP-controlled Senate confirmed Kavanaugh on Saturday despite sexual misconduct accusations against him. The justice's angry denial of the allegations, which included swipes at Democrats, led to fresh questions about his temperament for the bench.
The NBC/Marist poll was conducted – via landline and cellphone interviews – from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3 among 943 adults (which has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.7 percentage points), 781 registered voters (plus-minus 4.1 percentage points) and 571 likely voters (plus-minus 4.8 percentage points).