UPDATE, July 10, 2012: Here's the poll.
Eric Hovde has caught fire in the Wisconsin Senate race, taking a 31-29 lead over Tommy Thompson with Mark Neumann at 15% and Jeff Fitzgerald at 9%.
Attacks on Thompson have taken their toll over the last 4 months. His net favorability has declined 21 points since we last polled the primary in February, from +49 at 66/17 to +28 at 56/28. There's an increasing sense that Thompson is not conservative enough- only 34% of voters say they want him to be the nominee, while 50% say they would prefer someone 'more conservative.'
Increasingly it is Hovde filling that void for voters searching for a more right leaning alternative to Thompson. He is by far the best liked candidate in the race with 50% of voters seeing him favorably and only 9% negatively, for a +41 favorability rating.
According to PPP, Hovde is surging and Thompson isn't an automatic win in the Republican primary race on August 14th.
Do these numbers present an accurate picture of the Wisconsin political landscape?
That's the question.
Based on the tease tweets from Public Policy Polling, I don't think the results of its new poll on the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race, set for release tomorrow, are seismic.
I'm reading the words, and assuming PPP chooses its words appropriately, I'm not at all surprised by the tease: Hovde is popular among "Tea Party voters."
If I were Tommy Thompson, I wouldn't be too worried.
Eric Hovde has a small lead over Tommy Thompson on the Wisconsin Senate poll we'll release tomorrow— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) July 9, 2012
Hovde leads Thompson 39-21 among Tea Party voters. In general 34% of voters say they want Thompson, 50% someone more conservative— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) July 9, 2012
Thompson still has a big name recognition edge. Among voters familiar with Hovde he leads Thompson by 26 points— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) July 9, 2012
The key words are "TEA PARTY VOTERS."
PPP tweets that Hovde leads Thompson 39-21 among TEA PARTY VOTERS, not Republicans.
It sounds like the Left-leaning PPP wants to shake things up, stressing Hovde's popularity. That could be misleading.
Define "Tea Party voters."
I seriously question PPP's sample. How many "Tea Party voters" were included?
Furthermore, how many people in the poll "are familiar with Hovde"?
Wouldn't you think after Hovde's saturation ads most people polled would be "familiar" with Hovde?
PPP says Thompson "still has a big name recognition edge."
It seems that PPP is trying very hard to create the appearance of a very tight race.
Another poll delivers less positive news for Hovde.
One trend the polls do show is that Hovde is getting noticed. His campaign has made steps in the right direction. He's gone from being a complete unknown to being a challenger and significant factor in the race.
Granted, until the PPP poll is released and the specifics are available, it's impossible to judge.
However, the Twitter tease has the potential to discredit the integrity of the polling operation. PPP should reconsider its tease strategy if it's at all concerned about its reputation as a reliable source.