The survey firm Public Policy Polling reports today that Wisconsin Democratic senator Herb Kohl “would begin in a pretty solid position if he did decide to seek reelection. 50% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 35% who disapprove.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee responds, “Let’s take a moment to flash back to late November of 2009, when PPP claimed that ‘Feingold looks solid’ heading into 2010. Of course, we all know what happened there . . .”
Well, to give credit to PPP, Kohl does not appear to be a liquid or gas so he is, indeed, solid.
My friend Kevin Binversie, now laboring for GOP Senate candidate Ron Johnson, notices that today Russ Feingold isn’t just avoiding an in-state appearance from President Obama; he’s running from Obama as he’s visiting Feingold’s alma mater.
It’s amazing how ubiquitous these scheduling snafus have become for Democrat candidates for Senate.
Rasmussen finds that winning the primary has given Ron Johnson’s numbers a pop:
After a decisive win in Tuesday’s Republican Primary, businessman Ron Johnson now holds a seven-point lead over incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race. The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Johnson picking up 51 percent support, while Feingold earns the vote from 44 percent. One percent of voters prefer some other candidate, and four percent remain undecided.
These numbers will probably tighten; it’s hard to imagine a campaign against Russ Feingold in Wisconsin being a cakewalk. But the state obviously is ready to consider other options, and Johnson has to feel good right now.
Usually, when a politician features their family in an ad, the consultants have been telling them they need to “humanize” their image. I always wonder if the memos read something like, “The voters agree with your positions, but have nagging doubts about your ability to deeply connect with another human being, and/or procreating.”
I liked this ad from Ron Johnson, who’s running against Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. It pretty clearly mocks the tired lines and images we’re used to seeing.
Beyond the headlines in Rasmussen’s latest poll of Wisconsin likely voters: 69 percent say the country is still in recession; 41 percent say economic conditions are getting worse, 32 percent say it’s getting better and 23 percent staying the same. Only 8 percent rate the economy “excellent” or “good.” An entire 56 percent say the stimulus failed to create new jobs, only 27 percent say it did. Only 33 percent agree with the DOJ lawsuit against Arizona.
Mind you, all of this is in a state where Obama won 53 percent to 46 percent.
Wisconsin may be a fascinating indicator this year. If a three-term incumbent, who won with 56 percent of the vote last time, is stuck in the mid-40s and is in serious trouble, this may be a huge wave year.
Not long ago, one of my guys characterized Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold as “a goner,” which I thought was wildly over-optimistic from the GOP perspective. But two Rasmussen polls put the incumbent Democrat up by 2 percent over businessman Ron Johnson and then up by 1 percent.
Later today, Public Policy Polling will weigh in, and they offer a preview:
We’re going to have Wisconsin Senate numbers out tomorrow and they confirm that this is a real race, even after Tommy Thompson decided not to run. I actually think Ron Johnson is a more formidable opponent for Russ Feingold than Thompson would have been . . . Johnson begins as an unknown to a majority of voters in the state, but that gives him a lot more room to define himself positively than Thompson would have had as someone everyone in the state already had an opinion about.
Russ Feingold is in his third term, and won in 2004 with 55 percent when Bush was losing the state by 11,000 or so votes out of almost 3 million (or at least that’s what the Milwaukee ACORN office would have us believe). If he really is polling close to even against a relative unknown, then Democrats have good reason to panic.
Wisconsin voters are evenly divided in their feelings about Feingold with 42% giving him good marks and 42% think he’s doing a poor job. Feingold’s reviews are nearly completely polarized along party lines, with 71% of Democrats approving of him and 72% of Republicans disapproving. Independents are also against him by a 39/46 margin, reflecting their unhappiness with most all incumbents across the country right now.
The campaign of Russ Feingold insists that Scott Rasmussen’s latest poll, showing a close race, must be false because Scott is going on the NR cruise.
Hey, guys? A Wisconsin Policy Research Institute poll in March had Feingold trailing against one opponent, Tommy Thompson.
The Daily Kos poll — back before they dropped Research 2000 — had Feingold with an unspectacular 53 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable. Feingold’s highest percentage against any opponent in the Kos poll was 53 percent.
Public Policy Polling had Feingold at a “meh” 45 percent job approval, 41 percent job disapproval split in March.
A close Senate race in Wisconsin isn’t as unthinkable as these Democrats would like to pretend.
Ideally, we would have some non-Rasmussen polls for confirmation, but it appears that Russ Feingold can be added to the list of Democratic senators who could get washed out if there is a big GOP wave in November.
Feingold should win, and will probably win, but his job approval seemed pretty “meh” earlier this year. There was a point not too long ago when Barbara Boxer looked pretty tough to beat, too . . .