MILWAUKEE -- The latest Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday, August 8th shows the U.S. Senate Republican primary race tightening with less than a week until voters take the polls. Former Governor Tommy Thompson leads the latest poll, but Thompson's lead is shrinking.
The poll found Thompson leads the pack with 28% of likely voter support. Political newcomer businessman Eric Hovde is next in line with 20%. Congressman Mark Neumann has 18% and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald 13% of the likely vote.
"It's gone from a 20 to a 12 to an eight-point lead over Hovde (for Thompson). With 21% still undecided, there is still a lot of room for last minute decision making in the campaign," Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin said.
The latest poll shows Neumann and Fitzgerald gaining ground. What could contribute to this is recent ads released by Neumann and Fitzgerald on television and the internet.
According to the Marquette Law School poll, 21% of likely GOP primary voters are still undecided. In July, 25% of likely GOP primary voters were undecided.
The Marquette Law School poll also shows those polled believe Thompson is the only GOP candidate in the primary that will beat Democrat challenger Tammy Baldwin. Neumann trailed Baldwin in July head-to-head, and the latest poll says Neumann would tie Baldwin, while Hovde and Fitzgerald trail.
President Obama's job approval rating among likely voters polled by Marquette Law School is at 50% -- with 46% disapproving.
Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney in favorable ratings 36% to 53%. Obama is also ahead among likely voters in a head-to-head election 50% - 45%. Last month, Obama had 51% of the likely vote while Romney had 43%.
The Marquette Law School poll also found half of Wisconsin voters say cutting the federal deficit is extremely important, and a third say it is "very important." 40% of likely voters say they would support a tax increase at all levels to cut the deficit, and 55% oppose that approach. 35% of likely voters support continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for all, but 45% of likely voters agree with continuing the cuts for likely people who make less than $250K a year.
Approval ratings remain unchanged for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He holds a 51% approval rating with a 44% disapproving.
The Marquette University Law School surveyed 1,400 registered voters -- 1,188 of which are likely November voters. Only 519 of those are likely to vote in the U.S. Senate Republican primary election.
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