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Walker’s lead growing in latest 2014 election poll

By   /   January 28, 2014  /   No Comments

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 6 percentage points, 47 percent to 41 percent, according to the Marquette Law School Poll, released Monday.

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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 surveyed saying they believe 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 percentage points.

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 who were polled 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 state GOP wrote in a news 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 of those surveyed said they 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 during 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 collection — 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 surveyed 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 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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Kittle is a 25-year veteran of radio, newspaper and online journalism. In July 2011, Kittle joined Watchdog.org as bureau chief for Wisconsin Reporter. He has spent much of the past three years covering the seismic political changes taking place in the Badger State. Last year, Kittle joined Watchdog’s national reporting team, covering everything from energy policy to governmental assaults on civil rights. Beyond being published in Wisconsin’s daily newspapers and in multimedia news outlets, Kittle’s work has appeared on Fox News, and in Human Events, Reason Magazine, Newsmax and Town Hall. His special investigation into a politically charged John Doe probe, “Wisconsin’s Secret War,” was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Kittle has made several appearances on Fox News, including “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. He serves as weekly politics commentator for Lake 96.1 FM in Lake Geneva, and WRJN-AM 1400 in Racine. His resume includes multiple awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, Wisconsin Broadcast Association and other journalism associations. Contact Kittle at mkittle@watchdog.org.

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