WI-Sen: Kohl, Feingold Still Post Large Leads

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (2/24-27, Wisconsin voters, trendlines from 12/10-12/2010):

Herb Kohl (D-inc): 52 (51)

JB Van Hollen (R): 37 (38)

Undecided: 11 (11)

Herb Kohl (D-inc): 49 (48)

Paul Ryan (R): 42 (42)

Undecided: 10 (11)

Herb Kohl (D-inc): 51

Mark Neumann (R): 37

Undecided: 12

Russ Feingold (D): 51 (52)

JB Van Hollen (R): 39 (41)

Undecided: 10 (7)

Russ Feingold (D): 49 (50)

Paul Ryan (R): 42 (43)

Undecided: 9 (7)

Russ Feingold (D): 50

Mark Neumann (R): 40

Undecided: 10

(MoE: ±3.5%)

You might be sitting there thinking “Hey, didn’t I see these numbers before?” and, if so, you’re right… PPP polled Wisconsin’s 2012 Senate race in December when the specter of a Herb Kohl retirement seemed to be looming larger than now, and their new round of polling (obviously more focused on the standoff over collective bargaining rights and the prospect of recalling Scott Walker) finds very little has changed in that race amidst the rest of the state’s upheaval.

The most notable changes are that they’ve swapped in ex-Rep. (and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary loser) Mark Neumann in place of Tommy Thompson, only to find he does no better than the other options… and they note a big drop in Paul Ryan’s favorables, in the period since his SOTU response (the place where Republican rising stars go to die), down to 36/35 from a previous 38/30. Herb Kohl’s approval is 50/30, while newbie Ron Johnson’s approval (32/28) is worse than the favorables of the guy he just beat, Russ Feingold (51/39). What a difference a little presidential-year-electorate makes!

80 thoughts on “WI-Sen: Kohl, Feingold Still Post Large Leads”

  1. I think most would note is that there isn’t an appreciable difference between the numbers Kohl and Feingold post.

    And looking at Ron Johnson’s numbers it further affirms what myself and others believe which is that Johnson ran as generic republican and won solely because of the environment.

  2. senators who have been  super secure in their seats since 1st winning his in 1986.  He represents a purple state  and has a  pleasant personality, he is diligent hard working man and has tons of money to ward off potential foes. He won 67% in his last race in 2006.

    He has near 100% name recognition plus the assets listed above and yet his high point is at 52%.  My 1st thought is that if he runs, like Bob Casey in PA, he is very likely to win.  

    These numbers, however, look weaker then Feingold March 2009.  So if there is a Ron Johson II out there.  Some sort of generic GOP guy with a ton of money might take Kohl on in Nov 2012.  

  3. Either candidate will be fine with me.  If Kohl retires and should Feingold decide to run again, I think Russ would win.  

  4. I even suggested it in their blog. Oh well, he would have poor name recognition anyway. Hopefully Kohl runs though.

  5. I would greatly prefer Feingold over Kohl. He does just as well in this polling, and he’s a hell of a lot better on the issues and actually being a champion of various causes, as opposed to Kohl, who is a total backbencher who seems to be a Senator just to have something to do.

  6. The dude showed that he can’t handle a heated campaign in a hostile environment. That isn’t exactly a virtue. And even though the numbers are within the MOE, the numbers do show that Kohl outperforms Feingold. What issues do they differ on? I don’t think any, of any importance at least. Kohl has nearly limitless funds to boot.

  7. The field is already spread far too wide. Nobody will challenge Kohl because of his own financial resources. I’m not crazy about Feingold, particularly his campaign skills. See below.

  8. Wis Dems need a non-self-sabotaging candidate to run and hold this seat easily like Kohl, and Proxmire before him.

    Solidly progressive Democrats can hold Wisconsin Senate seats rather easily, as long as they are not obsessed by trivial quirks.

    I do generally agree with wanting progressive leaders rather than just reliable votes, but there are far better options than Feingold.

  9. or young for Senate standards. That’s my one contention. This would be the best time to replace him.

  10. His 98 campaign against Mark Neumann was one of the most competitive races of that cycle.

    The disparity between Kohl and Feingold is MOE float. But if you want to attribute the minimal difference its because of the perception that Kohl is more moderate and that’s stylistic as much as anything. As far as issues they differ on, Feingold’s more of a deficit hawk and Kohl is moderate on the foreign policy issues while Feingold is anything but.

  11. He’ll be what, 77 on election day? As a backbencher he doesn’t exactly have a hard time at work. We shall see. Given the trend so far I kinda expect him to call it a day actually.

  12. Get with the program, double digit leads for Democrats means that they’re vulnerable, while double-digit leads for Republicans mean they’re invincible, you know that!

  13. as another poster did that Kohl is within MOE with Paul Ryan running.  PPP is well know democratic poster and yes Kohl is within MOE.  

  14. Gosh, one more reason for someone new. If Walker is doing as badly as we suspect, there will be buyer’s remorse

    If Kohl were to retire, I’d suspect that Tom Barrett would be able to waltz into the seat.

  15. Feingold lost his re-election by 51.9-47. Not much of a difference, but a difference. Maybe we need someone fresh.

  16. Johnson was nobody.  Walker was no worse than the GOPs four best possible candidate (with Thompson and Ryan being two who would have been better, and possibly but not likely Neumann).

    Barrett would be a much better candidate.  (Kind and even Baldwin would also be better than Feingold.)

  17. The answer is they haven’t, so bringing up the partisan affiliation of their polling isn’t relevant to anything.

    Ryan is behind by 6 against Kohl (a number that strikes me as suspiciously optimistic for Republicans, but whatever), that’s a lead, throwing MoE out there like that shows a total misunderstanding of statistics (ie, it’s just as likely that the poll is wrong in Kohl’s favor as it is that it’s wrong in Ryan’s favor, with the current permutation being the number with the highest probability of being right).

    Plus, I’d like to add that this poll reeks of outlier to me (I don’t buy that Feingold would do just as well as Kohl, much as like Feingold, he’s a lot more controversial than Kohl has ever been).

  18. PPP is well know democratic pollster that have a 3% pro-GOP biass (average) in their polls for 2010.


  19. But the margin is actually 7 according to the blog. Second time in two days their numbers are different in a pdf. And Ryan isn’t running anyway. Nobody of stature will if Kohl runs again.

  20. and our former Ryan_In_Delco has done an excellent job documenting the –slight– R lean of previous PPP polls over there.  

  21. Not that it changes my point one bit, mind you.

    And Ryan isn’t running anyway. Nobody of stature will if Kohl runs again.

    I knew I forgot to make that point in my post!

  22. Apologies to PPP. Their polls, incidentally, I believe Nate ranks as having a slight Republican lean. But he is a Democrat too! Oh the humanity.  

  23. Start the recall effort in all 8 districts, see where we’re getting traction and where things seem bogged down, then do the triage and concentrate on only 6, or even 4.

    At this point I like starting out against all 8 of the rascals. They’ll also expend resources to try to defend against the potential recall election ahead. Let ’em sweat.

  24. in a 33 member body would be a failure?

    Does not compute.

    That would be over 5% of the chamber changing parties.

    Also, these are incumbents. Taking them down in a special, off-cycle election would be unprecedented – and send shock waves across the country.

  25. Recalling two would send shockwaves through Wisconsin. Recalling three or four would basically be doomsday for Gov. Walker’s agenda. Doesn’t matter whether there are eight recall petitions or four.

  26. Considering Bush got 69% in his district in 2004 and McCain got 63%, and since (I believe) Grothman first got elected by taking out a Republican who wasn’t seen as sufficiently conservative (correct me if I’m wrong), it’ll never happen.  I’m a little surprised to see Grothman on the list of Senators were recall attempts have actively begun.  That’d be like trying to recall Spencer Bachus in Alabama.  A total waste of resources.

    Plus, from an imaging standpoint, you could argue that it’s good for the Dems to have folks like Grothman who go on TV and call protesters things like “slobs”.  I’d imagine there were some GOP consultants watching that MSNBC interview who cringed when he kept saying “slobs”.  He’s almost the Michelle Bachmann of the Wisconsin political scene in the sense of pulling the conservatives off-message.

  27. From what I’ve been seeing, he’s seemed to back off considerably as this has dragged on, and the rest of the congressional delegation for the state doesn’t want to touch this with a ten-foot pole, even the new tea-party youngin’.

  28. the beginning he was pretty visible in his support. I guess he see’s what is going to happen in the long term and doesn’t want to get caught up in it.

  29. should demand that the Republican representatives clarify their positions. As I see it, either they lose the support of the general public or they lose the support of the Teabaggers.

    Just ask yourself, if the situation were reversed, would the Republicans hesitate to drive a wedge between the Democrats like this? No, they wouldn’t. In fact, they would have already been on the air.  

  30. But target all is question of coherence, because the reason for recall them is the same for all the cases.

    If the reason for find a recall is enough strong, then you must bid recall all the republicans what are involved.

  31. from any other election where you are trying to get someone to vote for some idea or for some person?  I’m not really sure how this process works, but if it’s similar to other elections, isn’t winning more things better? We’re talking Wisconsin senate districts, so I doubt focusing on more than one person will stretch our resources too thin.

    In other words, why not go for as many as might seem possible?  

  32. Trying to recall Tom Coburn would be nothing short of idiocy.  

    Recalls are hard to justify crybabyism to start, but losing them amounts to wasting everyone’s time and the state’s money.

    Let me know how recalling every Republican in every state you can do it goes.  It’s a doomed philosophy.

    Ideally recalls should only occur where they genuinely are the strong will of the people.  A recall attempt of a Republican from Wauwatosa would be moronic.

  33. The disparity between his and Kohl’s totals are because Feingold always underperforms and Kohl, if anything, overperforms.  They have never been in the same MoE territory.

  34. And losing seven of eight would be utter catastrophe, while losing three of four would not be anywhere close to the same level of disaster.

  35. But it’s silly to bet money on that.

    And I can’t see how anyone can seriously not see losing 6 of 8 races as anything but a disaster.  The Democrats would look like fools getting rejected so soundly.

  36. and terribly hurt the party in 2012.  

    How about if every couple months we have elections that are a resounding success for Republicans, where the win 7 of 8 of all the elections?  How dumb would Dems have to be to do that.

    Even Democrats can’t be so dumb as to voluntarily spend millions to get crushed 70/30.

  37. Because it’s not a regularly scheduled election. It’s effectively plucking a senator out midterm because the voters disapprove of his or her job performance.

  38. You can weak the strength of the reason for the recall if you leave some of them living easily.

    If you recall some and recall not someothers by political interest you are leaving to see you recall them by political interest, not cause of the original reason.

  39. Also, not possible. Wrong analogy to try.

    And this is the will of the people. You’re right that recalling that particular state senator might be a bad idea, but only if his constituents agree with what he’s doing.

  40. And these people are representing the will of the people.  That’s the point.  Please explain how it makes any sense to try and recall someone who won with 65%, in a Dem 2008 year, where most of the people in his district support Walker?

    It’s not a rhetorical question.  

  41. But, speaking generally, as I am not sure of the profiles of the people supposedly being targeted by the recall, you want to go after as many people as possible. Figure that if there’s at least a 60 to 75 percent chance of getting a person recalled and then winning the special election, it makes sense to target him or her. There’s no guarantee you will succeed in any of the races, but there’s a world of difference between a 50 percent chance of failure and a 20 percent chance of failure. It’s always nice to have a perfect score, but there’s little practical difference, I think, between trying for six or eight and then winning three or four than trying for three or four and winning three or four, or whatever the numbers, so long as the senate flips. In the end, if that’s what happens, that’s what the headlines will focus on.  

  42. Its not like all 8 would result inr resounding defeat.  Plus any close recalls would give Senators pause as future statewide elections in the state probably won’t be as friendly in future years as they were in 2010.

    The real focus in Wisconsin should be shoring up registered voters.  Dems really need to get on the horse with some of the voter ID laws and either challenge them or adapt.  They also need to try and register as many college-student voters (legally) as they can, as these could be crucial in a recall vote.

  43. Also, it’s going to be a lot easier to fund recalls against four than eight. We need to look at where we have the best chance of pulling this off.

  44. I was agreeing with WoodyNYC. It seems like some people are arguing that we should only focus a few seats because there’s a chance we could lose some of them. That’s true, of course, but at the same time, there’s almost no reason not to try for a recall–unless, of course, we’re dealing with a deeply red district. (At least one of the districts that we’re talking about seems to be that way, but I didn’t know that.) If there’s even the slightest chance we could succeed in any of the districts in question, we should make a run for it. It doesn’t seem as if resources will be stretched too thin, so it’s not as if by trying to get one or two more, we will really be hurting our chances to succeed in the districts that favor us the most.

    In the end, if we fail to succeed in some of these recall efforts but still manage to do well enough to flip the state senate, it won’t matter. I specifically mention this because it seems like some people are suggesting that only winning a certain number, despite this not making a difference for control, will be viewed negatively. If I am interpreting them correctly, I disagree.  

  45. See below.  If something is marginal, fine.

    If Mccain won a district by 63% it is thoroughly stupid to spend money on a recal that will go down in humiliating defeat.

  46. What is the benefit of that?

    Why let Republicans crow about the will of the people rejecting 6 of 8 recalls that cost the taxpayers money.

    Lots of places allow recalls.  If it makes sense to try and recall republicans who won running unopposed, why don’t we do this everywhere, every year?

    The answer is it is totally dumb and self-defeating.

    An more to the point maybe, why spend $100,000 in a district with zero chance of winning, instead of using that money in a district where there is a 50/50 chance of success?

    Run somebody against the dudes in the super red seats in 2012, and lose like always, but don’t look like clowns losing a recall by 80/20 or something like that.

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