Marquette Poll: Johnson narrows gap behind Feingold in U.S. Senate race

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A new Wisconsin poll is showing the gap between two U.S Senate candidates continuing to close.

With less than 10-weeks until the election incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson continues to trail Democrat Russ Feingold by several points in the Marquette Law School Poll released Wednesday.

Feingold remains just slightly ahead of Johnson among likely voters with Feingold at 48-percent compared to Johnson’s 45-percent.

“Just as it was with the presidential race, this race is much tighter than it was earlier in the month,” said director of the Marquette poll, Charles Franklin.

According to that same poll Wisconsin voters are saying they don't know enough about either candidate to form an opinion.

“The odd thing here is our incumbent has trailed throughout and is less well known,” added UW-Eau Claire political science professor Rodd Freitag. “Partly that is explained by the fact Feingold is a former incumbent, but normally you'd see the incumbent having the advantage and that's hasn't been the case here.”

Freitag says for those Wisconsin voters that mindset may soon change.

“I think people will come to focus on the Senate race, it's obviously an important position,” added Freitag. So, beyond the presidential and vice presidential race that's the one that's probably the most important on the ballot, so I think you'll see voters take a closer look at the two candidates.”

Wednesday, while in Glenwood City, Johnson said he isn't focusing on poll numbers as the election closes in.

“I think this going to be a close race, right down to the wire and that's probably further evidence of it. From my standpoint I'm going to continue to do my job, work hard, try to find the areas of agreement to keep Wisconsin safe, and make it more prosperous to provide the opportunities everyone is looking for,” Johnson said.

In a statement Feingold's Communication Director Michael Tyler said:

"Senator Johnson has spent years in Washington working for big corporate interests and multi-millionaires like himself while Wisconsinites fall behind. So, while Russ maintains a consistent lead in the polls, this campaign will continue to prioritize the middle class and working families of this state who want leaders who will listen to and fight for them.”

Also in the poll Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson received 6-percent among likely voters.

In order for either Johnson or Feingold to pull ahead Freitag says further campaigning, including advertising, will be needed.

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