A CNN/Time poll of likely voters released October 13 shows Republican challenger Ron Johnson leading incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold by 8 points. The poll showed Johnson picking up 52% support. Feingold, running for his fourth term in the Senate, got 44% support.
Feingold is a native of Janesville, Wisconsin and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and another one from the University of Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. He later received his J.D. from Harvard Law School. Feingold joined the Senate in 1993 and is running for a fourth term.
Johnson’s official biography says he moved to Wisconsin to start a company, PROCUR, that produces plastic. He attended business school and received his MBA from an unspecified school without finishing his thesis. He has no political experience.
Feingold supports a two-state solution and in 2002 called for Israel to give up its occupied territories in exchange for security.
Johnson said he supports Israel because of its strong economy and status as a strong free democracy among nations with weak economies and a lack of democratic rights.
Feingold opposed the war in Iraq and supported the plan to remove combat troops there. He believes the real threat to U.S. security is Al Qaeda.
Johnson supports President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan but not his decision to set a timetable for leaving Afghanistan. He says he does not support nation-building
Feingold supports sanctions against Iran to thwart it from becoming a greater nuclear threat.
Johnson’s official website does not take a position on Iran.
Healthcare and Social Security Feingold voted for the health care reform bill passed by Congress and said it protects patients and offers them economic security.
Johnson criticizes the bill as an experiment that will cost too much money. He says he will reform the bill and introduce lower costs, malpractice reform and insurance purchase across states.
Counterterrorism and Civil Liberties
Feingold voted against the Patriot Act and is now advocating for the Justice Act, adding provisions that would inform a person who had his house searched and require the authorities to cite a reason for reviewing personal records.
Johnson said that though the Patriot Act infringes on the civil liberties of U.S. citizens it is a tradeoff Americans must accept to ensure safety from terrorist threats. He said the provisions of the act should be reviewed continually.
Feingold supports the building of Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero saying he cannot decide for Muslims where they should build a mosque any more than he can tell Christians where they should build a church.
Johnson opposes the center and called on the city and state to rezone the planned construction. He called on New York City construction workers to “show their outrage.”
Feingold is pro-abortion rights and has 100 percent approval rating from Planned Parenthood and NARL Pro-Choice America.
Johnson is opposed to abortion.
Gay and Lesbian Rights
Feingold supports same-sex marriage and has said citizens should not be denied their rights.
Johnson’s official campaign website quotes him as saying marriage is between “one man and one woman.”
Russ Feingold (D)
Last Report: June 30, 2010
Ron Johnson (R)
Last Report: June 30, 2010
Data from 2006 shows a Jewish population of 28,330 in Wisconsin, making up .5% of the 5.5 million people statewide.