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Voters are split on Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin heading into the 2018 election, while few know much about her potential Republican challengers, according to the latest Marquette Law School poll.

Republican Kevin Nicholson, a Delafield businessman and Iraq War veteran who has not held elected office, has an early lead over state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, in the GOP primary to challenge Baldwin, the poll finds.

The error margin for those results is large and the poll says most Republican voters remain undecided.

The Marquette poll, released Monday, sampled 800 registered voters from Feb. 25 to March 1, with a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

It is the first independent publicly released poll to encompass all three candidates in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race.

Baldwin, D-Madison, is viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents to the poll, while 39 percent view her unfavorably.

Baldwin’s favorability has ticked slightly downward in the poll over time. In the past two Marquette polls that surveyed Baldwin’s favorability, in June and March 2017, it was 38 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters surveyed are slightly less positive about Baldwin — 66 percent view her favorably, 12 percent unfavorably — than Republicans and Republican leaners are negative about her, at 10 percent favorable, 72 percent unfavorable.

While Baldwin’s favorability in the poll is lukewarm, her possible Republican challengers remain largely unknown at this early stage in the Aug. 14 primary race.

About 85 percent of poll respondents had not heard of or didn’t know enough about Nicholson; 83 percent said the same about Vukmir.

The winner of the GOP primary will oppose the first-term Baldwin in the general election. Madison businessman Eric Hovde also has said he may run as a Republican.

Seven percent of respondents viewed Nicholson favorably and 7 percent unfavorably; the numbers for Vukmir were 10 percent favorable and 6 percent unfavorable.

Nicholson has an early lead in the Republican primary race with Vukmir, with the majority of potential Republican voters uncommitted. Because only 243 of the poll’s respondents plan to vote in the GOP primary, those results come with a large margin of error: plus-or-minus 8.2 percentage points.

Among those who said they’ll vote in the GOP primary, 28 percent supported Nicholson and 19 percent backed Vukmir.

A majority, 53 percent, said someone else, they didn’t know or refused to answer.


(3) comments

Rick Czeczok

Before you start I know she is a Senator and Chucky is leader of the senate. Polosi and Chucky are one in the same. That is what will win the senate back for the republicans. They are the dems own worst enemy.

Rick Czeczok

She is the problem with congress voting on partisan line over 98.5% of the time. One on the worst in congress. Just look it up it's pretty easy to do with the web. She is an obstructionist period, totally voted with Polosi on every matter..


Tepid???? 38%? If Trump were at those #’s you would call that freezing. Tammy Baldwin has done nothing except lying about her inaction on the Tomah VA scandal. Please be honest.

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