Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Release the internal polling memo, Smithers!

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So if you’re a candidate for public office and the latest and greatest poll comes out with a result you don’t like, what do you do? Release an internal polling memo that claims you’re still winning, of course.

The new Marquette University Law School poll is out and it shows the Wisconsin Senate race is a dead heat.

The survey shows former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson with a 46 percent to 45 percent advantage over Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Six percent of likely voters remain undecided. Thompson’s razor-thin edge is well within the survey’s margin of error. In the previous poll, conducted in late September, Baldwin led Thompson, 48 percent to 44 percent.

After narrowly escaping the GOP primary in August, Thompson, who has won four gubernatorial elections in the state, began the general election campaign as the favorite. But Thompson ran out of money at the end of the competitive GOP primary, causing his campaign to go dark on television for several weeks. Several polls released in September showed Baldwin with a narrow lead, but the race has tightened with both sides now spending heavily on television.

Momentum is now Tommymentum. Probably not where Tommy! thought he would be right now, I expect, but the polls are moving in the right direction for him. (Somebody on Twitter lamented that this shows negative ads work. Well, duh.)

So over in the Tammy! camp, it’s time to release the internal polling memo!

In the most recent survey, which fielded October 14th to October 16th, Baldwin leads 48 percent to 44 percent, as shown in the table below.

A 51 percent majority of voters have an unfavorable view of Tommy Thompson at this time. Messaging on Thompson’s ties to special interests in Washington DC has resonated with voters, as they name him the candidate who will follow what the special interests want, the candidate who will put himself first, and the candidate who is more a part of Washington than Wisconsin.

Just a reminder to beware internal polls that only release the topline results, especially when they’re using the poll to test-drive campaign messages.

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