Trump and Clinton at debate

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis.

Hillary Clinton widened her lead in Wisconsin after a video that surfaced last week brought widespread condemnation on Republican candidate Donald Trump, according to results from a statewide poll released Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s bid to hang onto his seat looked brighter, with Democratic challenger Russ Feingold’s lead narrowing to two percentage points from five points last month.

In the latest Marquette University Law School poll, the presidential race remained tight, with Democrat Hillary Clinton garnering 44 percent support and Donald Trump with 37 percent among likely voters for a seven-point lead. That compares to the September survey in which Clinton held a 41-38 advantage.

The poll in part reflected Friday’s release of 1995 video footage that appeared to have Trump condoning sexual assault and boasting about making advances on married women. Some of those polled were contacted on Thursday and Friday before the release of the tape, while others were contacted on Saturday and Sunday, after the news broke.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had 11 percent of the vote, unchanged from the Sept. 21 poll, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein had 3 percent, up from 2 percent in September.

The poll of 1,000 registered voters held a 3.7 percent margin of error. 

Poll director Charles Franklin said the release of the videotape affected results. Respondents contacted on Thursday backed Clinton by only a 41-40 margin. By Friday, she held a six-point edge. And respondents contacted on Saturday and Sunday collectively gave Clinton a 19-point advantage.

Franklin said the poll of likely voters does not reflect Sunday night’s presidential debate. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Clinton holding a nine-point lead nationally over Trump after the debate.

In the Senate race, 46 percent of likely voters backed Feingold, who lost the seat to Johnson in 2010, while 44 percent backed Johnson, with 4 percent choosing Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson.

"As we’ve consistently said, this is going to be a tight race with a real choice for Wisconsinites, between an Oshkosh manufacturer getting things done and a 34-year career politician saying one thing and doing another,” said Johnson campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger. “The home stretch has only just begun, but it’s becoming clear Wisconsinites are getting ready to fire Senator Feingold for good.”

The Feingold camp issued the following statement:

“Russ is heading into the home stretch of this close race as the only candidate who fights for Wisconsin’s middle class and working families. Sen. Johnson is trying to hide his record of protecting a system that benefits corporations and multi-millionaires like himself in a desperate attempt to stay in Washington and save his political career. And he’s continuing to cling to Donald Trump, despite the fact that his Republican colleagues are repudiating his disgusting actions.”

The poll also asked asked voters to rate how Gov. Scott Walker and President Barack Obama are handling their jobs.

Walker’s job approval rating stands at 44 percent, with 51 percent disapproving. In September, Walker’s approval was 43 percent, with 52 percent disapproving.

Obama’s job approval is at 52 percent, with 43 percent disapproval. In September, 54 percent approved and 41 percent disapproved.

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.