Rasmussen: Feingold now trailing by 7 in Wisconsin

Ed Morrissey

After winning his primary to gain the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Russ Feingold, businessman and newcomer Ron Johnson also got a bump in the polls. The latest Rasmussen survey puts him ahead of the incumbent by seven, 51/44. But as with all surveys conducted in the immediate aftermath of a primary, some caution should be taken:

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% support, while Feingold earns the vote from 44%. One percent (1%) of voters prefer some other candidate, and four percent (4%) remain undecided. …

When leaners are excluded from the totals, Johnson leads Feingold 50% to 43%. In late August, Johnson and Feingold were tied in results without leaners. Prior to the latest poll, support for Johnson ranged from 44% to 48% in surveys since February. In those same surveys, Feingold had consistently picked up 46% of the vote.

The impact of a primary win usually results in a temporary bump to the victor, especially when the opponent wins an unopposed primary. We saw that dynamic in Minnesota’s gubernatorial race, for instance. The difference would be that Feingold had been advertising during the primary campaign, as well as actively fundraising and making major appearances. It’s also the latest in a series of surveys that show Feingold well below the 50% threshold, which had already identified him as being in danger of losing his seat.

Johnson is winning this with the independents. Both candidates hold their own voters in line, but Johnson has a 58/30 advantage among unaffiliated voters. He does best with voters over 40, which will likely be a strong turnout model as younger voters lose interest in midterm elections as a rule. Fifty-five percent of Wisconsin voters want ObamaCare repealed and 59% prefer cutting taxes to government spending in order to stimulate jobs. Obama’s approval rating is split at 49/49 in Wisconsin, which doesn’t help Feingold much in this cycle.

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