Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin holds a nine-point lead over former Governor Tommy Thompson in the closely watched U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin, according to a new poll from Marquette University Law School.
The 50% to 41% advantage marks a reversal for Baldwin, who trailed Thompson by nine points in a Marquette poll last month. The poll of 601 likely voters conducted last week has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that while Baldwin firmed up support among Democrats following the convention in Charlotte, her biggest shift came from independents. Thompson held steady among Republicans with support around 93%, while the poll showed President Barack Obama jumped to a 14-point lead over Mitt Romney in Wisconsin, compared to a three-point lead last month.
“In August, independents preferred Thompson 47% to 37% among likely voters,” according to the Journal Sentinel. “The tide has turned, with independents favoring Baldwin 50% to 38% in the latest poll.”
Baldwin and Thompson were also tied at 47% in a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac, The New York Times, and CBS. Thompson, a former Bush cabinet secretary, led that poll last month at 50% to 44% after he won a competitive primary over challengers viewed as more conservative.
The two polls continue a series of positive recent indicators for Baldwin, who would become the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate and the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the chamber. Outside groups are spending heavily, having directed almost $9 million to the race, one of a handful that could determine control of the Senate. Baldwin has received support from LGBT and women’s groups including EMILY’s List and LPAC, the lesbian super PAC.
Two weeks ago, on the eve of Baldwin’s speech to the Democratic National Convention, Thompson’s political director sent an e-mail from his campaign account mocking the congresswoman’s “heartland values” with a link to video of her appearance at a gay pride festival. Thompson distanced himself from the incident five days later, calling the action “a mistake.”