A new survey of Wisconsin by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold ahead of former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who has been mulling a possible challenge to the three-term incumbent.
The numbers: Feingold 50%, Thompson 41%, with a Â±3.5% margin of error. Feingold is also tested against the two lesser-known Republican businessmen currently in the race, leading Dave Westlake by 47%-32% and Terrence Wall by 48%-34%.
Feingold has an approval rating of 45%, with a disapproval of 37%, and President Obama's rating is tied at 47%-47%. Thompson, despite having been elected governor four times in the 1980's and 1990's, has not fared well since he left office to become Georg eW. Bush's first Secretary of Health and Human Services, and later an unsuccessful presidential candidate -- his favorable rating is in negative territory, at 38%-45%.
"A lot of Democrats were scared yet another of their seats would go on the vulnerable list when Tommy Thompson said he was interested in running for the Senate last week," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the pollster's analysis. "But Thompson's popularity is not what it used to be, and it looks like Russ Feingold is in a solid position."