Pollster Tom Jensen has some numbers out on Tommy G. Thompson that show the former guv will unlikely make it through a GOP primary when he runs for Senate. Why? The right wing of the Republican Party apparently isn't impressed with his comical overtures to the Tea Party movement.
Sure our newest poll of the state finds Thompson leading Mark Neumann 47-39 in a head to head primary match up. But that's based much more than anything else on Thompson's far superior name recognition. 91% of GOP voters are familiar enough with him to have formed an opinion, while that's only the case for 57% of voters when it comes to Neumann. With that 57% of voters who have formed an opinion of Neumann, whether it's a positive or a negative one, he leads Thompson by a 55-39 margin.
Here's the real sign of how weak Thompson is though. We read respondents a two sentence, 28 word summary of the attacks he's likely to face from Neumann during the primary campaign and then asked voters again who they would support if the primary was today. And all the sudden Thompson trailed Neumann by a whooping 33 points, 59-26! Two sentences led to a 40 point swing in the horse race. We don't see that happen very often. (Here's the likely future Neumann line of attack on Thompson that we read: "While Tommy Thompson was Governor, he more than doubled state spending and increased government bureaucracy. Then he endorsed Obamacare, President Obama's $1- trillion-dollar government takeover of health care.")
We'll never know what Tommy Thompson would have done if he'd dealt with the sluggish economy that plagued his successors, however, we do know that -- like any good Democrat -- he saw the expansion of social services to be the main function of budget surpluses. Similar to Mitt Romney, who was responsible for the Obamacare before Obamacare, much of Thompson's campaign will focus on running from his past.
Funny that a governor who presided over a time of great prosperity of the state would be ashamed of his record? Funny and sad -- the two words that often best describe the Wisconsin Republican Party.
Even if Tommy proves the pollsters wrong, the lying he will engage in to succeed will be too embarrassing to take. I don't think he could go further in rewriting his beliefs than his pathetic Tea Party performance last year, but from what I've heard, the size of his ego makes any contradiction possible. Just look at the guy he hired as his press secretary back in the day!
Another PPP poll showed Kohl's seat to be a genuine GOP pick-up opportunity, with only Russ Feingold leading GOP challengers Thompson and Neumann. Kind, Kagen and Baldwin (who is favored to win the nomination if Feingold doesn't run) suffer low name recognition at this point.
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