According to a poll released today by Marquette University, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker leads challenger Tom Barrett 52 percent to 45 percent among likely voters in next week’s much-anticipated recall election. Among independent voters, Walker leads by a 45 percent to 31 percent margin.
According to pollster Charles Franklin, since April there have been 16 gubernatorial recall polls taken; yet none have shown Barrett in the lead. (Although one just released today by a liberal group showed the race tied.) The poll has Walker’s favorability rating at 51 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable, with Walker’s job-approval numbers virtually identical.
Recently, Barrett has taken a more aggressive posture, accusing Walker of hiding potential criminal wrongdoing; yet it appears this new negative approach may be costing Barrett votes — his favorability rating has sunk to 41 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable. Among independent voters, Barrett is mired at 25 percent favorable, 45 percent unfavorable. (Among Republicans, Walker has a 90 percent favorability rating; among Democrats, Barrett’s favorability is only 70 percent.)
In the same poll, Wisconsin voters favored President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 51 percent to 43 percent margin; surely this is bad news for Barrett, who can’t argue that the poll is somehow biased towards Republicans.
The poll demonstrates widespread support for Walker’s policies. For instance:
- 55 percent approve of limiting collective bargaining for most public employees, as opposed to 41 percent who disapprove.
- 75 percent support requiring government employees to pay towards their own pensions and pay more for health insurance.
- 60 percent say they like what Walker has done as governor, although 21 percent disagree with the way he accomplished it.
- 61 percent support requiring photo identification to vote, while 37 percent oppose.
The poll shows that among likely voters, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch leads her Democratic opponent, firefighter Mahlon Mitchell, by a 46 percent to 41 percent margin.
The election will be held on June 5.
— Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.