NPR logo Russ Feingold (D-WI) Tied With Ron Johnson (R) In CNN Senate Poll

Election 2010

Russ Feingold (D-WI) Tied With Ron Johnson (R) In CNN Senate Poll

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson is tied in a new poll with incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold. Morry Gash/AP Photo hide caption

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Morry Gash/AP Photo

This time last year, if you had asked most political pundits for a list of endangered Senate Democrats, Sen. Russ Feingold's name probably wouldn't have been on that list. Not even close.

But the 18-year Senate veteran is clearly now fighting for his political life. He's essentially in a tie with Republican Ron Johnson, a businessman making his first run for major political office.

In a just-released CNN poll, Feingold had the support of 48 percent of registered voters while Johnson, who owns a plastics firm, was at 46 percent. With a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, that's a tie.

Feingold appears to be suffering the from the same anti-incumbent mood that has swept out incumbents in both major parties this year.

With the antipathy towards candidates who've been in Congress for years and what some election experts see as an anti-Democratic wave that's about to crash over the majority party, Feingold is clearly in very dangerous territory.

That's especially true when you consider the energy the Tea Party movement has brought to the mid-term election campaigns this year compared with the Democrats who by comparison seem ambivalent.

It's just more proof that much has changed since six years ago when he easily beat his Republican opponent by 11 percentage points.