Thompson is at 35 percent in the poll, while Hovde is at 23, former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) fades to 10 and Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R) slides to 6. Thompson's support is virtually unchanged from the last time the group polled the race in mid-June, but Hovde has climbed from 14 percent, while Neumann has fallen from 16 percent.
The poll is the second in as many days to show Hovde surging, though the other poll, conducted by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling, showed him jumping into a narrow lead over Thompson. Hovde has been spending heavily on television ads, topping $3 million already, while the other candidates have been largely off the air until this week, when Neumann debuted his first ad.
The primary is on Aug. 14, about a month away, but the race is just now ramping up as the state's political attention was on the gubernatorial recall election, which occurred in early June.
Both polls of the primary are slightly problematic: The Marquette poll has a small sample size, while PPP uses automated polling, a less accurate method of polling, and while the group's results overall don't tend to show any bias, they are a Democratic firm.
Marquette's poll of 431 likely Republican primary voters was conducted from July 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points, while the general election poll of 810 likely voters had a 3.4 percentage point margin of error.