Poll: Feingold leads Johnson in Wisconsin rematch
© Greg Nash

Former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold leads Republican Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' GOP chairman warns of ISIS's ‘cyber caliphate’ Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him MORE in a bid to take back his Wisconsin seat, although the margin has narrowed ahead of the 2016 Senate race.

Feingold leads Johnson 47 percent to 42 percent among registered voters, according to Marquette University Law School’s new poll released Thursday. The former senator led the incumbent by a margin of 54 percent to 38 percent back in April.

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Those polled have a more positive view of Feingold. Forty-two percent view the former senator favorably, while 30 percent view him unfavorably. 

That’s compared to Johnson’s 30 percent favorable rate and 31 percent unfavorable rate.

A significant portion of voters hadn’t yet ironed out their perceptions of the two candidates in the rematch race, leaving significant room for the campaigns to sharpen messages.
"While we’re happy to be repeatedly polling ahead of an incumbent senator, Russ expects this to be a close race," Tom Russell, Feingold's campaign manager said in a statement that slammed Johnson as "out-of-touch with the concerns of middle class working families."
 
"Russ is focused on hearing directly from Wisconsin families how to improve their economic well-being, because people deserve a senator who doesn't just start showing up when he needs your votes."

Brian Reisinger, Johnson's campaign communications director focused on the tightening margin in a statement to The Hill. 

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Senator Feingold has been largely absent from Wisconsin and that helped him at first," he said.
 
"But the more Wisconsin voters reacquaint themselves with Senator Feingold, the less they want to send him back to Washington."
 
Wisconsin will be an important battleground and one of the most contentious races of the 2016 cycle, as the two parties wrestle for control of the Senate, which the GOP took last November. Outside groups are expected to pour money into the state to support each side.  


Despite entering the race in May, in the middle of the second fundraising quarter, Feingold raised $2.2 million over the six weeks through June to give his campaign about $2 million in cash on hand. Johnson raised $2 million to bring his cash on hand to $2.75 million going into the third fundraising quarter, which spans July through September.