Subscribe for 33¢ / day
07Biden0269AJA-11042016161040 (copy) (copy) (copy)

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, speaks to a crowd at the Orpheum Theater in Madison last November. 


U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has a 40 percent favorability rating heading into her 2018 re-election bid, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

That's up slightly from 37 percent in October 2016. Thirty-five percent of voters surveyed by the Marquette University Law School poll said they view Baldwin unfavorably, while 24 percent lacked an opinion.

The Democratic senator's favorability ratings are similar to those of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who was elected to a second term in November 2016. Thirty-nine percent of voters said they view Johnson favorably, down slightly from 41 percent in October 2016. Johnson is viewed unfavorably by 39 percent of voters, while 26 percent said they had no opinion.

Republican groups at the state and national level have made Baldwin a top target for 2018, especially after Wisconsin voters supported Johnson and President Donald Trump in November.

Baldwin, who defeated former Gov. Tommy Thompson in 2012, is serving her first term in the Senate after representing Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District for seven terms.

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, the perceived Republican frontrunner, announced last month he would not run for Senate in 2018, leaving the GOP field wide open.

As Madison as it gets: Get Cap Times' highlights sent daily to your inbox

Rumored challengers include businessman Eric Hovde, who lost the 2012 Senate primary to former Gov. Tommy Thompson; state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau; state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa; state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield; and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson.

Baldwin's campaign has focused its opposition efforts on Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Clarke, a top Trump surrogate during the campaign, has not announced a run, but several political action committees have launched efforts to "draft" him for the race.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.