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.