Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WI-SEN: Lesbian Tammy Baldwin Takes Lead

Tammy Baldwin is the first openly lesbian person elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She has represented the 5th Congressional District of Wisconsin surrounding Madison for over a decade but announced this time last year that she would run for the open U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Democrat Herb Kohl. Baldwin has done a good job of raising money, easily won the  Democratic nomination and was even able to pass on her congressional seat to another openly LGBT person, Mark Pocan.

However, Wisconsin is the most politically polarized state in the country due to the shenanigans of Republican Governor Scott Walker and the Democratic party's use of recall elections to fight back. This had the effect of energizing Republicans, damaging Baldwin's standing in her U.S. Senate race against 4-time former Governor Tommy Thompson and even putting the entire formerly blue state in play in the presidential contest as well. (Although the latter may be due to the selection of fellow Wisconsin congressman and rabid "Objectivist" Paul Ryan to the presidential ticket.)

Anyway, yesterday came news that for the first time Baldwin is pulling ahead of Thompson in the race, as shown in not one, but two, polls.

The first was an internal poll conducted for the Baldwin campaign which puts her up 50-45 among likely voters, with a margin of error of 3.5 points.
Baldwin leads Thompson, 50 percent to 45 percent, while 5 percent of respondents are undecided. The Democrat's lead is not considered statistically significant because it is inside the poll's margin of error. 
Thompson is considered the favorite in the race, thanks to his history of appealing to independents and moderate Democrats and his four gubernatorial victories. After emerging from a crowded GOP primary last month, Thompson led Baldwin in several independent polls.
The second was a poll by PPP which shows Baldwin ahead 48-45, with a margin of error of 3 points.
In the U.S. Senate race, Baldwin was backed by 48 percent of respondents, while 45 percent supported Thompson. 
The poll found 53 percent of respondents had a negative impression of Thompson, while 40 percent had a favorable view of him. It found Baldwin's favorable-unfavorable split was 44-45.
The survey also found 90 percent of respondents were committed to their choice in the Senate race.
Electing an openly LGBT person to the United States Senate would be an historic moment, and thanks to the rules of that deliberative (and dysfunctional) body would allow Senator Baldwin to thwart almost all anti-LGBT legislation, and perhaps promote pro-LGBT bills as well.

Hat/tip to Gay Politics

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