Actually, things did get worse for the Democrats, despite Rasmussen Reports finding a continued lesser dislike for President Obama in Wisconsin as of 8/10 (49% approve/50% disapprove/Approval Index of -11) than nationally (45% approve/54% disapprove/Approval Index of -20). Even that was a worsening of things, as Obama was actually in positive overall territory in Wisconsin at the end of last month (51% approve/48% disapprove/Approval Index of -13).
Similarly, soon-to-be-ex-governor Jim Doyle had a slight drop in approval, going from 38% approve/60% disapprove/Approval Index of -28 to 38% approve/60% disapprove/Approval Index of -29.
First up, the Senate race. Both the Cook Report (via John McCormack at The Weekly Standard) and the Rothenberg Political Report moved the race to a pure toss-up while I was gone.
Meanwhile, Rasmussen released a fresh poll showing essentially no change over the last 2 weeks. While Ron Johnson’s lead over Russ Feingold dropped from a rounded 48%-46% to a rounded 47%-46% (with no rounded change in either “other” or “not sure”), Feingold’s favorables moved from 52% favorable/44% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of 0 to 50% favorable/47% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of +3. Indeed, Feingold’s attacks on Johnson are backfiring, as Johnson’s favorables improved from 51% favorable/36% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of +6 to 51% favorable/33% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of +8.
On the gubernatorial side, all the news has come from Rasmussen. In the freshest poll Scott Walker maintained a healthy lead over Tom Barrett (49%-41% versus 50%-43% at the end of July), while Mark Neumann has his first lead over Barrett (45%-43%) since the end of June, mostly on the strength of a renewed focus on what he would do as governor. Based on that, they have joined Real Clear Politics in placing Wisconsin as a “Leans Republican” state.
Walker continues to be the most-popular of the candidates, maintaining favorables of 49% favorable/38% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of +6. While that is down from late-July’s 55% favorable/36% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of +9, he has the support of 90% of Republicans and over 50% of independents against Barrett. In fact, the Walker campaign just sent over a press release saying Walker is up 8 points on Barrett among independents, and 7 points better than Neumann among conservatives against Barrett.
Neumann’s focus on what he would do as governor also paid dividends beyond the lead against Barrett. His favorables improved from 47% favorable/44% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of -7 to 50% favorable/35% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of -3, and he has the support of 81% of Republicans and over 50% of independents against Barrett.
There is a bit of an oddity among the 38% plurality that strongly oppose (49% overall) the PlaceboCare insurance mandate. Despite Neumann’s early laser-like focus on opposing PlaceboCare, Walker has greater support among those that strongly oppose the insurance mandate in the matchups against Barrett, getting the support of 85% versus Neumann’s 75% support.
Meanwhile, Barrett’s favorabilities have begun to slide much like Obama’s and Doyle’s approval. It’s down from 50% favorable/43% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of -4 to 46% favorable/44% unfavorable/”Passion” Index of -5.