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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 21, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 38
Lesbian candidate leads in WI Senate race
Section One
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Lesbian candidate leads in WI Senate race

New poll gives Tammy Baldwin a nine-point edge over her Republican rival

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new Marquette University Law School poll released September 19 shows openly Lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin with a nine-point lead over former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson in their race for an open U.S. Senate seat.

The poll interviewed 705 registered Wisconsin voters by both landline and cell phone between September 13 and 16, with a stated margin of error of 3.8 points.

Fifty percent of the respondents now favor Baldwin, and 41% prefer Thompson. In polling last month, Thompson held a nine-point lead.

Baldwin has represented Wisconsin's Second Congressional District, regarded as the state's most liberal, since 1999.

Thompson was governor of Wisconsin from 1987 to 2001, and George W. Bush's secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005. He was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but dropped out early after his embarrassingly poor showing in the Ames, Iowa, straw poll.

According to the latest numbers, Baldwin has accumulated significant support among self-identified independent voters. Independents now favor Baldwin by 12 points, 50% to 38%. In August, Thompson led by 10 points among independents, 47% to 37% for Baldwin.

Marquette's September poll sample is two points more Democratic and three points less Republican than average for Wisconsin, but pollsters say that is still within the margin of error.

If the sample had been adjusted to match the yearlong average partisan makeup, they added, the margins would tighten, but Baldwin would still be in the lead. In the Senate race, Baldwin would be up five points, 48% to 43%.

OBAMA LEAD WIDENS
President Barack Obama continues to lead his Republican challenger in Wisconsin, the poll shows. In fact, the president has seen a large, post-convention bump. Voters now prefer Obama to Romney by 14 points, 54% to 40%. In the August poll, the president led 49% to 46%.

As with Baldwin, Obama's gains in Wisconsin appear to be among independents. Non-affiliated voters now prefer the president to Republican Mitt Romney by 53% to 38%.

The latest poll also shows the president's job approval rating to be significantly higher than in August. Fifty-four percent of respondents now approve of how Obama is handling his job, with 39% disapproving. In the August poll, the president's approval rating was 48% with 45% disapproving.

The poll shows 28% saying the economy has improved over the past year, 33% saying it has gotten worse, and 37% say it has stayed about the same.

When asked if they believe they are better off than four years ago, 47% of the respondents said yes, and 49% said no, a statistical tie. Asked if 'the country as a whole' is better off than four years ago, 46% said things are better while 52% said the conditions are not better.

But when asked who is responsible for the current economic problems, 30% of poll respondents said President Obama, but 55% said former President George W. Bush is still to blame.

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