A new poll shows U.S. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., leading former Gov. Tommy Thompson by four points in the race for a U.S. Senate Seat, but the results have Baldwin’s lead at a smaller margin than just a few weeks ago.

Baldwin leads Thompson 48 to 44 percent with likely voters. A poll in mid-September showed her leading 50 to 41 percent.

Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin said his polls have shown crucial changes have come because of independents’ shifting support.

“In August, independents leaned a bit Republican in the Senate and slightly Democratic for president,” Franklin said in a statement. “In mid-September, they leaned strongly Democratic in both races, and now they are swinging back to a more competitive balance.”

The poll also found women are supporting Baldwin more with a margin of 54 to 38 percent, whereas Thompson has more support among men by 50 to 41 percent.

Baldwin’s favorability rating stayed almost the same at 40 percent, but her unfavorability rating jumped from 34 to 40 percent. Thompson’s numbers stayed similar, with 38 percent of likely voters having a favorable view of him and 49 percent having an unfavorable rating.

John Kraus, spokesperson for the Baldwin campaign, said Baldwin’s outreach among state voters has helped her poll numbers rise, contrasting her strategy with what he described as a less outreach-focused Thompson campaign.

“Tammy has worked hard to earn people’s support and she visited with students on campuses across the state,” Kraus said in an email to The Badger Herald. “Thompson has admitted that he was exhausted and his own supporters have been outspoken about the fact he hasn’t been working to earn people’s support. Thompson arrogantly believes he is entitled to this job but now polls show voters disagree.”

In a statement released after the poll results, Kraus said Baldwin was a candidate who would stand with middle-class voters, while Thompson would support special interests.

Still, Thompson’s spokesperson Lisa Boothe said the poll numbers were not significant, pointing to Baldwin’s record in Congress as unpopular and “too extreme.”

“The only poll that matters is on Election Day,” Boothe said in an email to The Badger Herald. “With a $16 trillion debt and over 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, Wisconsin families cannot afford Madison liberal Tammy Baldwin in the United States Senate.”

Boothe called Thompson a “proven reformer and job creator” and said he is confident voters across Wisconsin agree he is the best choice to strengthen the economy.

President Barack Obama is still up in the state by 11 points, according to the poll. He leads former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., 53 to 42 percent.

The poll also surveyed voters on their thoughts regarding the reversal of much of the collective bargaining legislation last month by a Dane County circuit court. The pollsters found while 44 percent wanted collective bargaining rights restored, 49 percent were in support of the law.

Gov. Scott Walker’s approval rating with registered voters was 50 percent, up from his 46 percent approval rating in September. His disapproval rating was 45 percent, down from 49 percent, according to the poll. 

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