Walker’s lead growing in latest 2014 election poll


By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. – The latest Wisconsin poll numbers show Gov. Scott Walker’s lead over Democrat Mary Burke widening in the state’s race for governor.

Walker leads Burke by six percentage points, 47 percent to 41 percent, according to the Marquette Law School Poll, released Monday.

HEADING UP: The latest Marquette Law School Poll finds Gov. Scott Walker leading his Democrat challenger Mary Burke 47 percent to 41 percent in the race for governor.

The news gets better for the Republican incumbent, with the majority of voters believing the state is headed in the right direction.

Pollsters interviewed 802 Wisconsin registered voters by landline and cell phone Jan. 20-23. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Walker’s lead was 2 percentage points, 47 percent to 45 percent, in Marquette’s October poll.

Burke’s problem, according to the poll, is that the former Trek Bicycle executive and liberal Madison Metropolitan School Board member, remains largely unknown by Wisconsin voters.

“Seventy percent of respondents say they haven’t heard enough about her to have an opinion or didn’t know if their view was favorable or not. Twelve percent say they have a favorable view of Burke while 18 percent have an unfavorable view,” notes a statement following the release of the latest numbers.

Here’s a bigger problem for Burke: She is almost equally unknown among partisan groups, with 66 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans unable to say whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidate.

“Far more respondents are familiar with Walker, and the partisan split there is also sharp. Overall, Walker is seen favorably by 49 percent, unfavorably by 44 percent and 6 percent lack an opinion,” the poll release states.

Burke launched her campaign in early October and, nearly four months later, she has been reluctant to provide specifics on how she would help lead Wisconsin’s economy – a point the Republican Party of Wisconsin has hammered home.

“Unfortunately for Wisconsin, she also has failed to have a clear plan as to how she would help create jobs,” the party wrote in a press release last week.

Still, the Marquette poll found serious doubt among respondents that Walker will meet his ambitious workforce goal: That the state will create 250,000 jobs by the end of 2014. Only 14 percent think Wisconsin will hit the mark.

Walker is sticking with the aggressive goal, insisting that Wisconsin will get there within a month or two of his first term in office, thanks in large part to the nearly 13,000 new businesses that have launched over the past three years.

But the Marquette poll found 63 percent of Republicans surveyed, 81 percent of independents and 91 percent of Democrats do not think Walker will reach the 250,000 jobs number.

Still, there are other signs of a strengthening economy, not the least of which is the better-than expected state revenue – north of $900 million – reported this month.

“In interviews conducted in the week following an announcement of unexpectedly high state revenue projections, 49 percent (of respondents) say that the state budget is in better shape now than it was a few years ago, 26 percent say that it is about the same and 20 percent say that the budget is in worse shape now,” states the poll release.

And then there is the bigger issue of the personal economy. Voters see their personal financial situation better than it was two years ago, amid a partisan recall campaign against Walker. The poll found 35 percent of respondents say they have recovered after a “significant amount of damage” during the last recession, while 40 percent say the recession did not have a major impact on their finances. Two years ago, 27 percent said they had recovered.

Contact M.D. Kittle at mkittle@watchdog.org

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