MADISON, Wis. — With less than 10 weeks before Election Day, many Wisconsin voters are still wary of the candidates for president and say they don’t know enough about Republican Sen. Ron Johnson or Democrat Russ Feingold to know who to pick in that tightening race.
The latest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday shed light on the thoughts of voters as the campaign season heads into the Labor Day weekend, when people typically begin to focus more closely on the Nov. 8 election.
Johnson’s re-election race, a rematch of the 2010 contest against Feingold, is one of the hottest races nationally as control of the Senate may hang in the balance.
Even though Johnson has been in office more than five years, and Feingold served the 18 years before that, the poll showed many voters still don’t know enough about either to make a decision, giving both sides a chance to define the other candidate.
Thirty-two percent of respondents said they don’t know enough about Johnson to made a decision about him, compared with 25 percent for Feingold. The poll also showed the race being about even, a tightening from a poll three weeks ago and in July.
Among registered voters, Feingold had 46 percent support compared with 42 percent for Johnson. It was even tighter among likely voters, with Feingold at 48 percent compared with 45 percent for Johnson. Both results are within the poll’s margin of error, which was 4.5 percentage points among registered voters and 5 points among likely voters.
The poll was conducted Aug. 25 through Sunday, sampling 803 registered Wisconsin voters.
The presidential race, much like the Senate race, is also about even.
Clinton had 42 percent among registered voters compared with 37 percent for Trump. Among likely voters, Clinton had 45 percent compared with 42 percent for Trump.
That’s a tightening from three weeks ago, when Clinton led Trump among registered voters by 10 points and 15 points among likely voters.
Pollster Charles Franklin said the results reflect a leveling of voter opinion after the bounce for Clinton following the Democratic National Convention reflected in the last poll.
Once again the survey, through a number of questions, showed that voters are uneasy about having either Trump or Clinton as president.
Sixty-three percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of Trump, which was slightly lower than the 65 percent who felt that way three weeks ago. Clinton’s unfavorable rating increased from 53 percent earlier in the month to 58 percent in the most recent poll.
Meanwhile, 68 percent said they would not call Clinton honest, while 64 percent would not call Trump honest.
Johnson’s campaign has been hammering Feingold for saying earlier this week that he found Clinton to be “reliable and trustworthy,” arguing it shows Feingold is out of touch with Wisconsin voters.
Johnson’s campaign tried to open a new line of attack on Wednesday, questioning whether Feingold conducted an illegal “shadow campaign” through his Progressives United political action committee before declaring his candidacy for the Senate.
The state Republican Party alleges that Feingold violated the Hatch Act by planning for the Senate run while working at the U.S. State Department between June 2013 and March 2015. He declared his candidacy in May 2015.
Feingold’s campaign spokesman Michael Tyler dismissed the complaint filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel as being “completely without merit.”
Partisan complaints filed by both Republicans and Democrats are common as elections near, but they rarely result in any penalties.
Also on Wednesday, Feingold launched a new statewide television ad touting his support for equal pay for women and paid leave to care for sick family members. The 30-second ad features Feingold walking on a soccer field with girl soccer players, discussing equity issues.