Poll: GOP Gains Ground in Wisconsin
Three weeks away from the state’s hotly contested recall election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has taken a lead over his Democratic challenger among likely voters, a new poll shows.
By David Lauter, Tribune Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Three weeks away from the state’s hotly contested recall election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has taken a lead over his Democratic challenger among likely voters, a new poll shows.
Looking ahead to November, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have moved into a dead heat, 46 percent-46 percent among likely voters in a state that is crucial to Democratic hopes, the poll by Marquette University Law School showed. Obama led Romney 49 percent-45 percent in the university’s previous poll, taken at the end of April. Among all registered voters, Obama had a 46 percent-44 percent edge, essentially a tie given the poll’s margin of error.
In the recall election, Walker had a 50-44 lead over his Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett among likely voters. In the late April poll, Walker had only a 1-point lead.
The biggest reason behind the shift is that Republicans appear to be more mobilized for the June 5 recall election. Walker’s supporters “appear to hold an advantage in likely turnout,” said Charles Franklin, who directs the Marquette poll. Since almost no undecided voters remain in the state — only 3 percent in the most recent poll — the Republican advantage in turnout could be decisive.
The recall has been carefully watched both for its own sake — a huge battle sparked by Walker’s decision to push a law through the state legislature that ended most collective bargaining rights for public employees — and for what it might indicate about the November election. Wisconsin has often been among the most closely contested states in presidential elections, although Obama won by a large margin in 2008. Democrats would have difficulty getting a majority in the Electoral College without the state’s votes.
Romney has gained in part by consolidating support among Republicans — picking up conservatives who in previous polls had still said they were undecided, Franklin noted. As the hangover from the Republican primaries has faded, voters have a more favorable image of Romney. In the most recent poll, 40 percent had a favorable image of him, compared with 44 percent unfavorable; those figures were 33 percent-46 percent in April and 27 percent-50 percent in February.
In addition, Franklin said, the poll also indicates a small, but potentially important, shift in overall partisan identification in the state. In January, the Marquette poll showed Democrats with a 2-point edge over Republicans in the state. That Democratic margin rose to 8 points in February and has declined steadily ever since. It stood at just 1 point in the latest poll.
Wisconsin does not have voter registration by political party, so self-identification is the only measure of the state’s partisan balance.
The poll interviewed 704 registered Wisconsin voters May 9-12, 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 4.1 percentage points for the 600 likely voters — those who said they were certain to vote.
©2012 Tribune Co.
Visit Tribune Co. at www.latimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.