Government and Political News: Polling gives Obama the lead over Romney in WisconsinWisconsin News
-- Two new polls show that President Obama still leads Republican Mitt Romney for Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes in November.
Two new polls show that President Obama still leads Republican Mitt Romney for Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes in November. The latest Marquette Law School poll released yesterday gives the Democrat Obama a 51-to-43 percent lead over Romney. The same poll showed that Obama was up by six points in mid-June and eight points in May. Obama also leads in Wisconsin in a survey released this week by the Public Policy Polling firm. That poll gives the president a 50-to-44-percent lead over the Republican Romney. Both surveys of likely voters were conducted last Thursday through Sunday. The Public Policy poll also showed that Wisconsin had mixed feelings about the U-S Supreme Court ruling last week which upheld the Democrats’ national health care reform law. Forty-six percent of over a-thousand likely voters favored the ruling. Forty-four percent opposed it.
With 33 days until the Republican primary, Wisconsinites are just starting to pay attention to the U-S Senate race. And veteran G-O-P consultant Mark Graul says you’ll see a lot of swings in the polls. So far, Eric Hovde is the only one of the four Republican candidates to advertise heavily on T-V. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he’s spent around four-million dollars to get himself known. Two polls this week show Hovde in second place behind Tommy Thompson. The former governor leads 35-to-23 percent in the latest Marquette Law School poll – and Hovde raised his support by nine-percent from the last poll in mid-June. The firm of Public Policy Polling says Hovde is even closer to Thompson – just two points behind. Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says Hovde has enjoyed a long period to establish himself without being challenged but quote, “We’ll see what happens as we get into the real heat of battle.” Former Congressman Mark Neumann, a distant third, says the polls are already out of date because he’s about to start his ad campaign. Thompson spokesman Brian Nemoir says voters will want to know more about Hovde, whom Nemoir called “a guy who just moved back here who ran a hedge fund.” Sean Lansing of Hovde’s camp says the polls show that voters are looking for a fresh face with new ideas, as opposed to Thompson’s quote, “lifetime in politics and government.” Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald is running a distant fourth, and says Hovde’s money has been the big story so far. The Marquette poll shows only Thompson leading Democratic nominee Tammy Baldwin in head-to-head polling for November.
State Assembly Republican leaders are telling election officials to solve some major problems at the polls before November. Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, Finance co-chair Robin Vos, and others wrote the Government Accountability Board yesterday. They said the June fifth Senate recall election in Racine County was quote, “an utter mockery of our system.” They mentioned problems with voters who did not sign poll books – ballot bags that were tampered with – and voters not meeting the proof-of-residency requirements to register at the polls. Vos, who’s from Racine County, said the problems are likely occurring in other places as well. And he says the Board needs to respond with an improvement plan so the winners-and-losers in November can have confidence in the results. The Republicans asked the state board to make sure poll workers and local clerks understand the proof-of-residency laws – that poll books are signed properly – and that communities verify the addresses of new voters within 10 days of an election. The G-O-P letter said quote, “Our state can’t have our election process undermined by questions of potential fraud.” Former Senate Republican Van Wanggaard lost the Racine area recall vote, and he cited possible fraud in ordering a recount. He decided not to challenge his loss in court, saying he did not have a quote, “smoking gun” which proved actual fraud. Democrats blamed procedural mistakes by election workers – and they’ve also called for better training of poll workers.
The nation’s longest-serving state legislator is about to become the Wisconsin Senate’s president – again. The Senate will hold an organizational meeting next Tuesday, and leaders of both parties have agreed to elect Madison Democrat Fred Risser as the body’s new president. Democrats officially took over the majority in the Senate yesterday, after state officials certified Democrat John Lehman’s victory over Racine incumbent Van Wanggaard in their June fifth recall election. Risser has been in the Legislature since 1956. And it’s no surprise that he’s held the Senate’s presidency a couple times in the past, since it normally goes to the most senior member of the majority party. Democrats also plan to name Milwaukee’s Tim Carpenter as the president pro tem. Ellis will replace Neenah Republican Mike Ellis. And Carpenter replaces Joe Leibham of Sheboygan. Democrats will control the Senate at least until November, when half the seats are up for election.
The nation’s energy secretary will take a look at two projects in Wisconsin today. Steven Chu will tour a recent expansion of Ingeteam in Milwaukee, which makes wind energy turbines. Mayor Tom Barrett will go along on the tour, and Chu will talk about an extension of federal tax credits for clean energy projects. Ingeteam received some of those credits – one-point-seven million dollars worth – as part of a 21-million dollar expansion of its factory. The energy secretary will also visit the Great Lakes Bio-energy Center in Madison. It’s developing new bio-fuels as alternatives to foreign oil.
Newly-released e-mails are shedding more light on the problems Waukesha County had in reporting the state’s presidential primary results on April third. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obtained the e-mails. They show that the state Government Accountability Board ordered a last-minute programming change to Waukesha County’s voting machines just before the elections. But County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus never conducted a public test of the equipment as required by law. And the equipment failed to work properly on Election Night, causing delays of several hours in reporting the county’s results. Earlier this week, a consultant said it would cost a quarter-million dollars to fix the equipment and eliminate the chance for future mistakes. The system failed to read memory cards and cartridges brought in by municipal clerks – and therefore, Nickolaus could not immediately report the results online, as she had promised. The clerk had already been on the hot seat for not immediately reporting 14-thousand votes in last year’s extremely-close State Supreme Court election – and the error resulted in a statewide recount. Nickolaus has not commented on the latest developments. She’s not seeking re-election this fall.