Marquette poll shows Thompson ahead in US Senate race


A new Marquette University poll shows former Governor Tommy Thompson leading hedge fund manager Eric Hovde by 12-percentage points in the Republican primary for US Senate. It comes on the heels of another poll showing Hovde ahead.

Thompson led Hovde 35-percent to 23-percent in the latest Marquette poll of people likely to vote in the August Republican primary. Former Congressman Mark Neumann was the top choice of 10-percent of those polled while six-percent picked Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.

Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says Thompson’s numbers were largely unchanged from the same survey taken in June while Hovde made significant gains. “I think on Hovde’s side, we’re seeing the cumulative effect of a tremendous amount of TV advertising, and advertising that’s largely gone unresponded to by other candidates,” he says.

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Another survey released by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling had Hovde up by two points over Thompson. Franklin said it wasn’t clear why the two polls differed.

Twenty-five percent of primary voters polled by Marquette remained undecided and 58 percent of likely voters were still unfamiliar with Hovde. Franklin says it shows there’s room for movement in the race. “Given the extent to which the campaigns have not so much engaged with one another yet, I think these last four weeks are likely to be a period of potentially a lot of change,” he says.

In a November matchup, the Marquette poll found that all four Republicans would face close races with Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. Thompson was the only Republican to poll ahead of Baldwin, though his lead was within the survey’s margin of error.