MILWAUKEE, Wis. — A new Marquette University Law School Poll released Tuesday shows the Democrat candidate for the U.S. Senate, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, leading her Republican challenger former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, 50 percent to 41 percent.
Marquette University Professor Charles Franklin, who directed the poll, noted that less than a month ago those numbers were exactly the reverse. Franklin said that the biggest shift in the polling numbers came from independent voters.
The results of an August poll revealed that the state’s independent voters preferred Thompson 47 percent to 37 percent over Baldwin. That support has shifted with this poll as independents indicated a preference for Baldwin 50 percent versus Thompson’s 38 percent.
“The thing that is so striking is how big the shift is for independents. For most of the change we see is independents shifting their view on things. Of course the flip side is what can change dramatically in one month could change again dramatically later,” Franklin said.
This poll also shows that President Barack Obama is experiencing a significant post-convention bump as Wisconsin voters weighed in favoring the president over Republican Mitt Romney, 54 percent to 40 percent. The August poll had the president’s lead at much narrower 49 percent to 46 percent difference.
Franklin cautioned, however, that there was also movement in the makeup of partisanship in the poll. In September Republicans made up 27 percent of the likely voter sample, down from an average of 30 percent across all eleven Marquette Law School polls conducted since January. Democrats made up 34 percent, up from an average of 32 percent. Independents were 37 percent of the September sample, the same as their average for the year.
“Our September poll makeup is about two points more Democratic and three points less Republican than average, which is within the margin of error,” said Franklin.