Three sets of recent polls released found that while the majority of Wisconsinites approve of Gov. Scott Walker’s job performance, Wisconsin could play a roll in reelecting President Barack Obama in the upcoming 2012 presidential election.
A Rasmussen Reports telephone poll released last Wednesday found that Walker’s approval rating currently stands at 52 percent, while 46 percent of those polled said they disapproved of Walker’s job performance to date.
Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck said Rasmussen Reports, who conducted the poll, tends to lean politically conservative in their polling. He also said the approval numbers for Walker can be attributed somewhat to the absence of a clear Democratic gubernatorial candidate who will run against him in a possible recall election.
“There are many people who will stand with Walker no matter what happens. I’m not surprised he has strong support. I think it’s tough for people to say that they would support someone else if they don’t know who that some else is going to be,” Heck said. “This is a snapshot in time, and it could easily change. I wouldn’t be confident if I were Walker, and I wouldn’t be confident if I were the Democrats. It’s going to be down to the wire either way.”
University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden said in an email to The Badger Herald that Walker’s numbers reflect what could be a very tight potential recall election this summer.
He also noted the ongoing John Doe investigation would likely become a factor in the election.
“Several recent polls about Gov. Walker have generated somewhat different numbers, but all of them suggest he is a slight favorite to win the recall election this summer,” Burden said. “Surveys conducted since last year’s protests have shown a sharply divided electorate with few undecided voters. Whether he can hang on will depend on the relative turnout rates of the two sides.”
Rasmussen Reports also released a poll Wednesday showing Obama leading Republican presidential contender and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Wisconsin 47 percent to 42 percent and Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 46 percent to 41 percent.
A poll released by Democratic Party-affiliated Public Policy Polling on Thursday also shows Obama leading all Republican presidential candidates in Wisconsin. It also reported Obama has a 52 percent approval rating and 44 percent disapproval rating in the state.
“It looks like President Obama will have a relatively easy time winning Wisconsin. In fact, all of the various Electoral College strategies his campaign is considering assume that he will win the state,” Burden said. “Rising concerns about the Republican candidates and an improving economy are both helping to ensure that he wins the Badger State, although he is not taking it for granted.”
The poll also shows an increase in his approval ratings. In a PPP poll conducted in Oct. 2011, Obama had a 44 percent approval rating and a 51 percent disapproval rating.
Heck said he sees a connection between a recent national upswing in the economy and an upswing in approval numbers for both Obama and Walker.
“Nationally, the economy seems to be improving somewhat over where we were three months ago. Walker, either rightfully or wrongfully, is probably reflecting on that. Incumbents tend to do better with the economy,” Heck said.