Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson has slipped to No. 2 in the four-way Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll.
Self-financing businessman Eric Hovde has taken the lead with 31 percent, Thompson has 29 percent, former Rep. Mark Neumann notches 15 percent and state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald has 9 percent, according to the survey from Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.
The survey of 565 Republican primary voters was conducted from July 5-8, and has a 4.1 percent margin of error.
In the previous PPP survey from February, Hovde was not yet included. That poll had Thompson at 39 percent, with Neumann and Fitzgerald splitting the vote at 22 percent apiece.
The Republican primary will be held Aug. 14.
The general election match-up also appears to be tight. Thompson and the Democratic nominee, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, are tied at 45 percent each. Hovde leads Baldwin 45 percent to 44 percent. Baldwin has a bigger margin against Neumann and Fitzgerald — she leads both by a 4-point margin, according to a separate survey of 1,057 registered Wisconsin voters conducted during the same period, with a 3 percent margin of error.
PPP’s Tom Jensen writes:
Attacks on Thompson have taken their toll over the last 4 months. His net favorability has declined 21 points since we last polled the primary in February, from +49 at 66/17 to +28 at 56/28. There’s an increasing sense that Thompson is not conservative enough- only 34% of voters say they want him to be the nominee, while 50% say they would prefer someone ‘more conservative.’
Increasingly it is Hovde filling that void for voters searching for a more right leaning alternative to Thompson. He is by far the best liked candidate in the race with 50% of voters seeing him favorably and only 9% negatively, for a +41 favorability rating.