Leading Off:• WI-Sen: The good news for Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is that Marquette no longer has him down 16 points in his battle for re-election against Democrat Russ Feingold. The bad news is that he still trails by a 47-42 margin, which, suffice it to say, is not where an incumbent wants to find himself. It’s not clear why the gap would have closed so much—this early in the campaign, there really isn’t any good reason for polls to shift like this—but even so, the rest of Marquette’s findings aren’t very helpful for Johnson, either.
For one, Feingold remains more popular, with a 42-30 favorability rating, compared to 30-31 for Johnson. For another, Hillary Clinton is doing well, beating Jeb Bush 47-42 and Scott Walker 52-42. (As an aside, it’s amazing that Walker performs worse than Jeb.) If Clinton were to carry Wisconsin, as you’d expect, then Johnson would need a lot of her supporters to not vote a straight ticket and instead support him over Feingold. But in 2012, Republican ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson only performed about 1.5 net points better than Mitt Romney in that year’s Senate race, and Thompson had a much more moderate profile than Johnson.
And it’s even possible that Marquette’s new numbers are actually too optimistic for RoJo. A conservative group called Restoration PAC recently released internal polling that had Feingold ahead 50-42. If that’s the best that Republicans can come up with, well, that’s not very good. (Restoration tried to argue that their recent round of TV ads, the size of which they did not disclose, had improved Johnson’s standing. They should have just waited for Marquette!)
Marquette has a good reputation for accuracy, but again, this is a lot of movement, so let’s see what other pollsters say. Either way, though, Johnson is still in trouble.
• AZ-Sen: It’s Gravis, so believe what you will, but they’ve got state Sen. Kelli Ward beating Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary, 45-36. Those numbers are probably too good to be true but they aren’t completely out of the realm of possibility, since PPP found McCain beating Chemtrail Kelli by a fairly soft 44-31 spread back in May. Meanwhile, Gravis has McCain on top of Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick 48-35, while Ward beats her by a much narrower 43-38 margin. PPP, by contrast, had McCain leading Kirkpatrick 42-36 (they didn’t test a matchup with Ward).
• FL-Sen: This is completely gross: Florida Rep. David Jolly, a Republican running for Senate, is slated to appear as a “guest of honor” at a concert later this month hosted by the Church of Scientology celebrating the centennial of the town of Clearwater, where the “church” has a headquarters (which they call, in their paramilitary fashion, “Flag Land Base”). For those unfamiliar, Scientology is a cult masquerading as a religion that virtually enslaves its most loyal members, who spend their lives toiling in wretched conditions for the organization for almost no pay and are threatened with “disconnection” from their family and friends if they ever try to leave….