Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) holds a narrow lead over vulnerable Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in a rematch for the competitive Wisconsin Senate seat, a new poll finds Wednesday.
The Marquette Law School Poll found Feingold has a 4-point lead, within the survey’s margin of error, over Johnson, 45 percent to 41 percent among registered voters.
Johnson faces an uphill battle for a district that went for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and could be pivotal in which party gains control of the upper chamber.
The poll’s results have barely shifted from a survey in March, when Feingold was leading Johnson by 5 points, 47 percent to 42 percent.
But among likely voters in the general election, Feingold’s lead widens, garnering support from 51 percent, compared to Johnson, who received 42 percent.
The difference between the two voter groups underscores the enthusiasm of Democrats and Republicans. The poll found that 84 percent of Democrats plan to vote in November, while 78 percent of Republicans will cast ballots in general election.
Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll, said that while the likelihood of voting changes throughout a campaign, Republicans right now face an enthusiasm gap. He said voter turnout will be better projected after both parties hold their conventions and officially nominate their standard-bearers.
While his party is making a concerted push in Washington to block those on the terrorist watch list from buying guns, Democrat Russ Feingold is voicing reservations about the idea.
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has pointed to ideology, not guns, as the root cause of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando.
The thorny issue of gun control, which played out in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, hasn’t yet flared dramatically in the Johnson-Feingold race, one of the most fiercely contested in the current campaign cycle.
But it is clearly on the table.
Feingold and Johnson say they want to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. But turning words into legislative action is still part of what divides them in their rematch race for the U.S. Senate.
In a statement, Feingold said: “There are a host of common-sense, responsible safety measures we can take right now to help prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.”
“We need to implement solutions like waiting periods, ensuring background checks for all purchases, and doing away with these unnecessary high-capacity magazines that allow would-be killers to inflict massive harm in mere seconds,” Feingold added.
“But before Congress implements measures related to the terror watch list, it must make sure it’s not restricting the fundamental rights of American citizens without due process.”
Republicans are calling on Democrat Russ Feingold to pull his latest campaign attack ad against Sen. Ron Johnson because it comes two days after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
The ad released Tuesday has nothing to do with the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub that left 49 people and the attacker dead. Instead, the spot focuses on Johnson’s votes in the Senate on trade deals and his accepting a $10 million deferred compensation package in 2011.
Johnson spokesman Brian Reisinger says Feingold is shameless for launching the ad and says this is a time for the country to come together.
Feingold spokesman Michael Tyler isn’t addressing criticism of the timing. Instead, Tyler says Johnson has been hiding behind attack ads funded by outsider groups opposed to Feingold.
The ad released statewide on Tuesday, except in the Madison market, calls Johnson’s accepting a $10 million payment for deferred compensation from his plastics company Pacur shortly before being sworn into the Senate in 2011 a “sweetheart corporate payout.”
The spot then references five votes Johnson made in the Senate, saying they resulted in Wisconsin jobs being shipped overseas.