PPP's first look at the Wisconsin Senate race this cycle finds Russ Feingold with a clear lead over Ron Johnson in a hypothetical rematch of their 2010 contest. Feingold gets 50% to just 41% for Johnson.
Johnson hasn't proven to be very popular during his first term in the Senate. Only 32% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 40% who disapprove. 28% of voters with no opinion about him also suggests he hasn't made a terribly strong impression on people over the last 4 years. Meanwhile Feingold is still relatively popular despite his 2010 loss. 46% of voters see him favorably to 35% with an unfavorable opinion. That makes him more popular than any other politician in the state who we looked at on this poll.
Feingold has a big initial advantage over Johnson for a couple key reasons. He is up double digits with independents, at 52/38. He's also winning 11% of the Republican vote while losing just 4% of Democrats to Johnson. It's relatively unusual to see the Democratic base that much more unified than the GOP one. - PPP, 3/11/15
The Feingold-Johnson rematch looks highly likely but in case Feingold passes, here's where the other Democrats start out:
We also tested four other Democrats against Johnson. Three members of Congress we looked at- Gwen Moore (51% name recognition), Ron Kind (42%), and Mark Pocan (31%) are all relatively unknown. Each of them trails behind Johnson by 6 to 8 points. Mary Burke does still have 83% name recognition from her campaign last year and even though her favorability is slightly under water (39/44) she still leads Johnson 46/45. - PPP, 3/11/15
Feingold, along with Joe Sestak (D. PA) and Ted Strickland (D. OH) would be a part of the comeback class of 2016. Still waiting to see if Kay Hagan (D. NC) and Mark Begich (D. AK) will also make comeback bid. But signs have indicated Feingold will run for his old seat and this poll should be highly encouraging. Stay tuned.