New Poll Shows Thompson Leads the Republican Pack for Senate

Former Wisconsin governor has 8 percentage point lead over businessman Eric Hovde in the race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate seat.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson leads the field of GOP candidates for U.S. Senate, according to a survey released Wednesday by Marquette University Law School.

The poll of likely voters shows Thompson favored by 28 percent of the respondents, while businessman and political newcomer Eric Hovde comes in at 20 percent. Former Congressman Mark Neumann was backed by 18 percent, while Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald garnered 13 percent.

With less than a week before Tuesday's Republican primary, 21 percent of those polled say they are undecided.

, Thompson held a 12-point lead over Hovde — 35 percent to 23 percent. Neumann sat at 10 percent and Fitzgerald was 6 percent.

A full 25 percent of those surveyed at that time were undecided.

Conducted from Aug. 2 to Aug. 5 of 519 likely voters in the Republican primary, the poll has a margin of error or 4.4 percentage points.

The latest polling numbers were released Wednesday as part of the ongoing polling project at Marquette during a live edition of "On the Issues" with broadcaster Mike Gousha and Professor Charles Franklin.

When it comes to the November general election against Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Thompson holds the lead there as well, 48 to 43 percent. Neumann runs even with Baldwin at 44 percent, while Baldwin leads Hovde, 44 to 41 percent, and Fitzgerald, 45 to 40 percent, respectively.

"All this is within the margin of error," Franklin said.

Marquette surveyed 1,188 likely voters for questions on the November matchup and those questions have margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

What was interesting to note, he added, was that among voters with unfavorable opinions about any of the candidates, a clear second choice is not apparent.

"I think this is worth paying attention to because of what it means in a multi-candidate race," Franklin noted. "There's just no way to break out with less than week to go before the primary. They all want the Affordable Care Act repealed, the federal deficit restrained, and taxes managed in a conversative way."

The candidates respond

After the Marquette poll results were released, the campaigns of Thompson, Hovde and Neumann sent out press releases about the numbers.

From Brian J. Nemoir, spokesperson for the Thompson campaign:

Not only does Tommy Thompson hold a strong and commanding lead in the primary despite a relentless barrage of negative attacks, the fact remains he is the best-positioned candidate to defeat Tammy Baldwin in November. 

Republicans have shown an early and consistent understanding that this race is about making sure Tammy Baldwin does not represent Wisconsin for the next 36 years, and that Thompson is the candidate who can win and defeat Obamacare, balance the budget and create jobs.

Hovde's Campaign Manager Joe Fadness had this to say:

Like every other public poll that has been released over the last month, Tommy Thompson is sliding and Eric Hovde is rising. However, the Marquette Poll continues to be the outlier with every other recent survey showing Eric leading at this stage of the race.

The Thompson and Neumann campaigns know that Eric is in the lead, and that is why they continue to use negative and deceitful attacks against us at every turn. With just six days to go before Election Day, we are winning this race.

Neumann's campaign pointed out his double-digit surge in the polls, noting he is the only candidate to show this kind of improvement:

Marquette University released a poll today further demonstrating the Wisconsin GOP Senate contest is a three man race and Neumann has the momentum.

Marquette continues to show conservatives are uniting behind Mark Neumann. (He) is surging because he’s the proven conservative. His barnstorm this week with the Tea Party Express continues the momentum.

This is the last statewide poll from Marquette before the primary Tuesday.

James R Hoffa August 09, 2012 at 10:25 PM
@David - It was that damned Bobby Kennedy and his brother - always out to get Hoffa! Bobby never did jump from the Capitol dome like he promised he would after Hoffa's first acquittal, did he? That lying little weasel! You know that Hoffa would never tamper with a jury, don't you? And Hoffa never defrauded the central states pension fund - all the Vegas loans were legit! As for Nixon, Hoffa personally voted for the man three times, the endorsement was only a logical and natural extension! Hoffa wasn't planning on being back-stabbed by Colson and Fitzsimmons though - f'ing Frankie! Always remember that the Kennedy's were even bigger communist witch hunters than McCarthy was! Accusing Hoffa of being a communist - where exactly do the damned Kennedy's get off? Who do they think they are?!?! I hate the Kennedy's!
Dirk Gutzmiller August 09, 2012 at 10:34 PM
jbw - You might want to remind us of the specific cases where "you raise taxes and several large businesses move elsewhere (as we've seen numerous times)". Not sure which companies moved out specifically due to raised taxes.
James R Hoffa August 09, 2012 at 11:20 PM
@Dirk - Why did Obama's jobs czar, Jeffery Immelt, move GE's med-tech division out of Wisconsin and over to China? Why don't you email him or Obama for an explanation and get back to us with what you find out!
Dirk Gutzmiller August 10, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Hoffa - Jobs are, of couse, exported to China from every State, and even from other countries. And not just due to taxes, of course, but much more significantly, lower wages, fewer environmental laws, and U.S. federal tax breaks. I am interested in which companies moved from Wisconsin and went to another State due to tax increases in Wisconsin, as jbw contends several have done numerous times. No State in the nation is going to compete with China to any degree, though Master Lock in Milwaukee has gained national attention in its efforts to bring back jobs from China. Obama did much like Lincoln did, he brought in his "enemies" to his administration to get their advice and support. Immelt could tell the President first-hand why he exported the jobs.
James R Hoffa August 10, 2012 at 02:02 AM
"Immelt could tell the President first-hand why he exported the jobs." And yet four years later, Obama has done squat to alleviate the situation! In fact, Obama's done the exact opposite and made things even worse. And yet, you still support the man.


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