My colleague Charles Franklin is running a year-long project at Marquette Law School to poll the heck out of Wisconsin in what will surely be a very interesting political environment. The first poll is out, and it can’t be making Wisconsin Democrats very happy. Full results here. All potential recall challengers trail the Governor, though not by much, and the public is either positive or neutral about the most visible parts of Walker’s legislative plan (higher fees for state workers, voter ID, curtailing of collective bargaining.) Majorities think that Walker’s program will increase jobs in the state and is “better off in the long run” for Wisconsin. Cutting funding to public schools and BadgerCare, on the other hand, is deeply unpopular, and presumably those issues will play a big role in the recall campaign. The Governor has access to a titanic amount of money from out of state, and will make sure people here don’t miss out on hearing his point of view. His opponents may rise in the polls as they gain statewide name recognition, but it’s hard to see in the numbers a huge “anybody but Walker” sentiment. On top of all that, Tommy Thompson, the only really popular Republican in the state, is going to be back on the campaign trail running for Senate.
The election is a long way away, but Democrats have to be seen as starting from behind.
My guess is that they have a better chance of capturing the State Senate (though I’m told that if Van Wanggard is tossed, his Democratic replacement has less than a year before being redistricted into an election they’re almost sure to lose.) I wonder when Marquette starts polling the senate races?
(Note: I was surprised to see that 43% of Marquette’s sample identified as “independent” — but it turns out that 40% of all Americans now give their party ID as independent, the highest proportion Gallup has ever recorded.)
Despite the title I should include the one piece of good news for Democrats; the President remains popular here and seems at the moment to be well ahead of any potential opponent.