The Washington Times - September 17, 2010, 02:01PM

A new poll shows that Wisconsin Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold is further slipping behind challenger Ron Johnson in the incumbent’s bid for a fourth term in office. 

A Rasmussen Reports’ survey conducted Wednesday shows Johnson, a conservative Republican with “tea party” support, with a 51 percent to 44 percent lead over Feingold.


One percent of voters preferred some other candidate, while 4 percent remain undecided.

More survey respondents held a “very favorable” view of Feingold compared with Johnson, 32 percent to 29 percent. But Johnson held 13-percentage point edge in the “somewhat favorable” category.

The poll was taken a day after Johnson easily defeated two GOP primary opponents. Feingold was unchallenged in his primary.

But the race is still considered a “toss up “in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings. 

This is the first Rasmussen survey for the Wisconsin Senate race to include “leaners.” Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate. 

When leaners are excluded from the totals, Johnson leads Feingold 50 percent to 43 percent. 

Johnson is backed by 94 percent of Wisconsin Republicans, while 86 percent of the state’s Democrats support Feingold, the survey shows. Johnson holds a nearly two-to-one lead among voters not affiliated with either major political party.

Two Rasmussen survey’s conducted in August showed Johnson with a 1-percent point lead.

Feingold last lead in a Rasmuseen poll on June 21, when he topped Johnson by 1-percent point.