Ever wonder what it takes to sanitize a Daily Kos post of all the snark and pompous windbaggery? We found out today, when their very own poll showed Wisconsin governor Scott Walker opening up a lead on his two primary Democratic opponents in the pending June 5 recall election. (One imagines the Daily Kos author typing that post while looking like Sylvester the Cat having swallowed a bag of alum.)
According to the poll (conducted by Public Policy Polling), Walker leads Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett by a 50 percent to 45 percent margin, and leads former Dane County executive (and union favorite) Kathleen Falk by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin.
The poll comes on the heels of a tough week for Democrats, as their two favorite candidates have engaged in an internecine struggle to garner the favor of public-employee unions. Falk has promised to veto any future budget that doesn’t restore public unions’ collective-bargaining power; Barrett, whom the unions accuse of using Walker’s collective-bargaining changes to balance his own city’s budget, says he would call a special session to scare Republicans into reversing Walker’s new law. (There is a zero percent chance that the Assembly, which is almost certain to stay in Republican hands following the November elections, will vote to undo the collective-bargaining changes they passed this session.)
This presents a conundrum for the Democrats; according to the PPP poll released today, Barrett beats Falk by 14 percentage points (38 to 24) head to head, and Barrett has a slightly better chance of beating Walker. Yet all the money is certain to be behind Falk, as she has essentially sold all the equity in her candidacy to the public-employee unions. If organized labor spends tens of millions of dollars on Falk and loses, it will be a major embarrassment, and a repudiation of the entire reason for the recall; but if Falk loses, Democrats may have a better chance of regaining the governorship.
Walker himself didn’t have a bad week, either. His campaign created ads critical of both Barrett and Falk (although he reportedly has only begun airing the anti-Barrett ads), and his staff has unearthed favorable educational data that the teachers’ union had tried to hide from the public. Furthermore, a report issued by Walker’s administration showed that due to his package of government-employee reforms, property taxes in the state have decreased for the first time in twelve years. Democrats countered this news by accusing Walker’s spokeswoman of once working at Hooters.
— Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.