52% of registered voters back Baldwin over Hovde in the latest Marquette University poll

MADISON — In the first Marquette University Law School poll since Republican businessman Eric Hovde entered the race, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin leads among registered voters while the race is tied among likely voters.

Hovde, a banking and real estate mogul, launched his bid to deny Baldwin a third term in February. He previously ran for Senate in 2012 but finished a close second to former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson in the primary. Thompson went on to lose to Baldwin by nearly 6 points. Hovde also weighed a race against Baldwin in 2018 but backed off, and briefly considered a run for governor in 2022.

Among registered voters, 52% said they backed Baldwin while 47% supported Hovde. That's including the 18% of undecided voters who were asked to name the candidate they would support if they were forced to choose. Without those undecided voters, Baldwin led 44-37.

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Tammy Baldwin favorability increases, Eric Hovde gains presence

The last time Marquette was in the field, Hovde hadn't yet made his campaign official — but political observers expected him to enter the race. In the Feb. 7 poll, which came two weeks before Hovde's announcement, 84% of registered voters said they hadn't heard enough about him or didn't know their opinion, while 7% had a favorable opinion and 9% had an unfavorable view.

In the February poll, Baldwin was viewed favorably by 42% of registered voters and unfavorably by 45%, while 13% said that hadn't heard enough about her to form an opinion.

The latest poll shows Baldwin's favorability on the rise, at 47%, while 42% see her unfavorably. Just 11% of voters did't have an opinion.

The percentage of voters without an opinion on Hovde dropped down to 56% in the most recent poll.

"It is pretty striking in a two-month period from January to now to see that major step of people having opinions of him," Franklin said.

Hovde is viewed unfavorably by 24% of voters and favorably by 19% of voters.

Campaign finance reports in this week

Hovde raised $9.1 million in the first quarter of 2024, his campaign reported earlier this week to the Federal Election Commission. That includes an $8 million loan the banking and real estate mogul made to his campaign.

Hovde has spent $3.7 million on his campaign this year, leaving him with $5.3 million in the bank heading into the summer.

Baldwin raised $5.4 million in the first quarter of the year, and spent $3.2 million. She reported $10.3 million on hand.

This story will be updated.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Marquette University poll 2024: Baldwin ahead of Hovde for U.S Senate