Veteran U.S. Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is struggling in his bid for re-election in Wisconsin due partly to high unemployment, a Reuters-Ipsos poll found Tuesday.
With three weeks to go until the Nov. 2 elections, the poll found Republican businessman Ron Johnson leading Feingold by 51 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in Wisconsin.
Feingold, bidding for a fourth six-year term, had long been seen as a safe incumbent but a weak U.S. economy has generated doubts about him and many of President Barack Obama's Democratic allies.
Wisconsin is one of a dozen crucial races in the fight for control of the Senate, currently held by Democrats. On Wednesday, Michelle Obama is scheduled to stump in the state for incumbent Democratic Senator Russ Feingold.
Johnson was seen in the poll as being "the best person to help generate jobs in Wisconsin" — 49 percent compared to 36 percent for Feingold.
And by a 42-28 percent margin, Feingold was more likely to be seen as "part of the problem with politics right now in this country."
Voters said Feingold's support for Obama's healthcare reform this year made little difference to their preference.
In the Wisconsin governor's race, Republican Scott Walker leads his Democratic opponent Tom Barrett by 10 points, 52 percent to 42 percent.
The Ipsos poll of 600 registered voters, including 451 who said they were likely to vote, was conducted from Friday to Monday. The full survey of registered voters has a margin of error of 4 percentage points while the smaller sample of likely voters has a margin of error of 4.6 points.