In a poll released last week, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker stand as front-runners for Wisconsin voters for the upcoming 2016 presidential election.
Among Wisconsin Republican primary voters, Ryan leads with 27 percent of the vote, followed by Walker at 14 percent, with other candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul included in the poll.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling located in Raleigh, N.C., polled just more than 1,100 Wisconsin voters by phone, which was evenly split by usual Democratic and usual Republican primary voters.
In a matchup between only Ryan and Walker, Ryan led with 47 percent of Wisconsin voters compared to Walker’s 38 percent.
However, according to the poll results, if Ryan ran in the election but Walker did not, voters greatly favored Ryan, and vice versa if Walker ran but Ryan did not.
Ryan also favored well in polls against potential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, with each tying at 46 percent of Wisconsin voters in favor of each candidate.
Despite Ryan’s tie with Clinton, Walker fared poorly against Clinton, only taking 44 percent of the voters against Clinton’s 49 percent.
Among Democratic voters, Clinton was favored the most, taking 50 percent of voters, with former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold capturing 20 percent of the Democratic vote.
Barry Burden, University of Wisconsin political science professor, said Ryan and Walker faring well with Wisconsin voters is not surprising.
“Paul Ryan is seen as more viable at this point mostly because he gained experience as the vice presidential running mate in 2012,” Burden said. “Scott Walker is building a valuable national network of supporters, but Ryan’s experience in Washington and on a presidential ticket give him instant credibility as a potential candidate.”
The poll comes after speculation about Walker’s potential 2016 bid due to the amount of out-of-state trips this year, including first in the nation caucus state Iowa, Connecticut, New York, China and most recently, Michigan.
Despite Ryan’s popularity with voters, Burden said it does not appear Ryan helped the Republican ticket in the 2012 presidential election, running alongside former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Wisconsin will likely continue to be a battleground state in 2016, but could sway in the GOP direction in 2016, Burden added.
“But [Ryan] or Walker might help nudge Wisconsin in the Republican direction if one of them were to head the ticket in 2016,” Burden said.
Burden added the poll results should be taken lightly because there is much time before the 2016 election, especially when looking at possible matchups between Democrats and Republicans.
Surveys this far from the election are generally inaccurate because they are measuring name recognition of potential candidates, rather than true voter opinions, Burden said.
Burden added the surveys conducted this early before the 2008 election did not include Barack Obama on the surveys when he went on to win the presidency in 2008 and 2012.
Even though conservative Wisconsin voters have two viable candidates in Ryan and Walker, Burden said Democrats will likely be favored to win since the Republicans have not won the state’s electoral votes since 1984.
The poll’s margin of error was 2.9 percent for the Democratic portion, and 4.6 percent for the GOP portion.