The latest Marquette University Law School Poll located here shows Tommy Thompson ahead of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin 49 - 41% with likely voters. There is a problem though, even with him in the lead among the four Neo-Stalwart candidates running! (There is a reason you see him and his "Stop Sign" all over the TV)
WOW! Even with Tommy T's 84% name recognition and 4 terms as Governor of Wisconsin he's still not outside the technical margin of being overtaken by Jeff Fitzgerald? That says that Tommy's got a problem with Republican voters! That problem? He's not a real Neo-Stalwart... he's a Republican. During his time as Governor, Thompson was a moderate and someone who wasn't afraid to negotiate and work together. Did Democrats get everything they wanted? No. But, can you imagine Governor Thompson ever introducing Act 10 and play dumb about what the consequences would be?
I'm 25 years old, and from my birth until 8th Grade, I knew no other Governor than Tommy Thompson. My mother, who was born in 1960 was six years old when Tommy was first elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly! This man was politically raised in a time of Governors Patrick Lucey, Lee Dreyfus and Warren Knowles. The most egregious thing Governor Knowles ever did was forget Winneconne on the 1967 map! Tommy Thompson is not all that appealing to the Neo-Stalwarts who want nothing more than to return us to a time of Governor Jeremiah Rusk.
Tommy Thompson, who has been a "fixture" in politics since 1966, flirted with federal elected office, and elected as the longest serving Governor in Wisconsin history, can't shake a 25% undecided electorate in a primary poll two months from election day?
Tommy Thompson's not winning the Neo-Stalwart Primary. Tommy Thompson is a Republican.
UPDATE: After first posting this at 4pm Craig Gilbert has written in his Wisconsin Voter Blog on JSOnline. Craig is a straight shooter whose work is exceptional, and rightfully points out that Thompson has higher "positives" than his opponents. He also points out that his "negatives" are higher too, and says that he can manage this in a crowded field. I tend to disagree, and feel that those voters will coallecse around a single Neo-Stalwart candidate (My pick: Mark Neumann). Tommy Thompson is ahead, and comfortably so right now, but two months, while maybe a time where traditionally people have stopped paying attention to politics, is also a time where party members can get to their rank-and-file and change minds.