A new survey of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling (D) finds that in the open Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl is retiring, former Sen. Russ Feingold could potentially have a lock on the Dem nomination if he wanted it — but that former Gov. Tommy Thompson might face a competitive contest on the GOP side.
If Feingold were to run — following his defeat for re-election after three terms, in the 2010 Republican wave — the poll shows him starting out with a whopping 70% support in a Democratic primary, followed in a very distant second place of 12% by Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who has been eyeing the race, and several other names in single digits.
If Feingold did not run, Baldwin would start with 30%, followed by former Rep. Steve Kagen (who also lost in 2010) with 17%, Rep. Ron Kind with 16%, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach with 13%, and several others in single digits.
On the Republican side, Thompson starts out with only a 36% plurality, followed by former Rep. Mark Neumann with 22%, and several other names in single digits. (Though who knows, perhaps state House Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald’s 8% and his brother state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s 5% might add up to 13% if only one of them ran.)
More troublesome for Thompson is this question: “Generally speaking would you like the Republican Senate candidate next year to be Tommy Thompson or would you rather it was someone else?”
The result: Thompson 46%, Someone else 45%. This would seem to indicate that if the non-Thompson GOP vote were not divided, and he faced only one insurgent opponent in the primary, he could face a real contest.
The survey was conducted from May 19-22. The sample of likely Democratic primary voters has a ±3.5% margin of error, and the sample of likely Republican primary voters has a ±3.8% margin of error.