Updated 6:30 p.m. | Wisconsin Senate candidate and former Gov. Tommy Thompson led presumptive Democratic nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), according to a new poll released today by Rasmussen Reports, a firm whose polling methods and accuracy are considered somewhat controversial.
The poll found that if the election were held today, 52 percent of respondents would support Thompson, the perceived frontrunner in the Republican primary for the state's open Senate seat. Only 36 percent said they would vote for Baldwin.
Though insiders widely consider Thompson the GOP frontrunner, he faces tough primary competition from three other candidates: state Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, former Rep. Mark Neumann and businessman Eric Hovde.
Baldwin would fare far better against the other potential Republican nominees. The poll showed her competing in neck-and-neck races with all three of them.
When Hovde entered the Senate race earlier this year, he had very low name recognition. His substantial expenditures to introduce himself to voters through television and radio advertising appear to have boosted voter awareness of his campaign. The poll found him in a statistical dead heat with Baldwin, taking 44 percent to her 42 percent.
The poll, which surveyed 500 likely voters, had a margin of error of 4.5 points.
Roll Call rates the general election as a Tossup.