Two polls released Wednesday show Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in positive positioning for the U.S. Senate seat, a day after two polls paid for by Democrats also had her in the lead.
The Quinnipiac University Poll showed Baldwin is tied with former Gov. Tommy Thompson at 47 percent each. A poll in late August showed Thompson had a six-point lead at 50 to 44 percent.
However, a Marquette University Law School Poll showed Baldwin in the lead by nine points, leading Thompson 50 to 41 percent. The numbers flipped an earlier poll’s mid-August results, when Thompson led Baldwin 50 to 41 percent.
Marquette’s poll had more Democrats than Republicans as usual in this poll, according to Poll Director Charles Franklin. If the poll had as many respondents from each party as they usually do, Baldwin would still be in the lead 48 to 43 percent.
“Much of the movement in the poll came among independents,” the poll results said. “In August, independents preferred Thompson by 46 percent to 37 percent among likely Wisconsin voters. That reversed in September, with independents supporting Baldwin by 50 percent to 38 percent.”
The Quinnipiac University Poll found independents support Thompson by 50 to 42 percent.
Thompson campaign spokesperson Lisa Boothe criticized the poll for oversampling Democrats in an email to The Badger Herald. She added Wisconsinites would show on election day they do not support Baldwin because she is “too liberal.”
“We have no doubt that Wisconsin families will see through the lies and demagoguery that Tammy Baldwin and her liberal cronies are using to divert voters’ attention away from her failed record,” Boothe said. “No distortion of the truth or amount of money can cover up the fact that Madison liberal Tammy Baldwin is too extreme for Wisconsin.”
Baldwin’s campaign was pleased their efforts in outreach to voters are showing in the polls. Campaign spokesperson John Kraus said Baldwin has traveled throughout the state but praised her “strong grassroots campaign” for reaching out to all Wisconsinites regardless of their party.
Kraus also said the campaign is making a push for young voters, who he said are starting to “check in” to the election. Baldwin was on college campuses in Oshkosh and Stevens Point last weekend.
As Baldwin was not as well known across the state and has therefore faced an “uphill battle,” UW political science professor Dietram Scheufele said he would caution Baldwin to not read too much into the poll. Still, he said it is a positive result that shows she is having a strong presence.
“What [the polls] do tell her is she’s doing something right,” Scheufele said. “So clearly she is not having serious problems with her campaign or the Wisconsin electorate in general. She is actually doing what some people said she was not able to do.”
At the least, Scheufele said, Baldwin is proving her critics wrong.
The Quinnipiac poll also showed a 52 percent approval rating for Gov. Scott Walker, which Scheufele attributed to having a “smarter electorate” that is becoming more likely to vote for different parties in the same election cycle.