Gov. Walker Vulnerable to Three Democratic Challengers, Poll Says
Though former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold would win big, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds it would be a close race when Walker is matched up against just about any expected Democratic challenger.
It would be a photo finish in a gubernatorial recall race between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and nearly any Democratic challenger, according to a poll released this week.
While the Public Policy Polling survey of 900 Wisconsin registered voters over the phone placed former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold ahead of Walker by 7 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup — though he has said he is not interested in running — Walker either wins or loses by roughly 3 percentage points against other challengers.
That's different than two other notable polls on the election. A poll conducted in October by the same North Carolina-based survey company showed Walker topping all challengers. Additionally, another recent poll conducted by Charles Franklin of the Marquette University Law School shows Walker would beat all recall challengers by large margins.
According to the Public Policy Forum poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.27 percentage points, Walker is vulnerable against challenges from three Democratic hopefuls, and would edge out wins against five others in head-to-head matchups:
- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett leads Walker 49 percent to 46 percent;
- Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk wins against Walker 48 percent to 47 percent;
- U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of La Crosse comes out ahead of Walker 46 percent to 45 percent;
- Walker beats former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey of Wausau 47 percent to 45 percent;
- Walker beats state Sen. Jon Erpenbach of Middleton 47 percent to 44 percent;
- Walker leads state Rep. Peter Barca of Kenosha 48 percent to 46 percent;
- Walker leads Secretary of State Doug La Follette 46 percent to 45 percent;
- Walker tops state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout 46 percent to 44 percent
State election officials have until March 19 to vet the 1 million petition signatures recall organizers submitted in early mid-January. The state Government Accountability Board, the agency that oversees elections, is also examining 850,000 signatures against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and another 80,000 in efforts against four state Republican lawmakers.
The agency is expected to ask a Dane County judge soon to grant it more time to certify the signatures, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.
Falk, La Fottette and Vinehout have all announced their intentions to run against Walker, and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has said it plans to hold a primary to vet the list of candidates.
Barrett, who hasn’t officially announced his candidacy but says he is still considering a run, leads all Democratic candidates in a primary with 45 percent of the vote, according to the poll. The poll says Falk would garner 18 percent and La Follette 14 percent. However, with Barrett taken out of the mix, Falk grabs 41 percent, La Follette 23 percent and Vinehout receives 13 percent.
The poll also showed Walker with a 47 percent approval rating and a 52 percent disapproval rating.