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Wisconsin poll: Walker leads Burke 49% to 44%

Wisconsin poll: Walker leads Burke 49% to 44%
Gov. Scott K. Walker (Courtesy)

Wisconsin’s GOP Gov. Scott K. Walker leads Mary Burke, his presumed Democratic challenger 49 percent to 44 percent, according to a late March Human Events/Gravis poll of 988 registered Wisconsin voters.

“When looking at these data on the level of party identification, the election for governor appears to be following partisan lines with 82.5 percent of Democrats voters supporting Burke and 91.1 percent of Republican voters supporting Walker,” said Doug Kaplan, the president of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based polling firm that conducted the poll.

The poll carries a 4 percent margin of error.

Kaplan said the state’s independent voters were more evenly divided.

“Independents were split between Burke and Walker 37.7 percent and 47.4 percent respectively,” he said. The Gravis telephone surveys are conducted using automated calls contacting registered voter lists provided by the State of Wisconsin.

“Across all party identifications, President Barack Obama’s approval rating was 40 percent with 11 percent expressing uncertainly,” he said. “When viewed on party identification, the President’s disapproval rating was nearly 97 percent among Republicans, 47.1 percent among Independents and 10.2 percent among Democrats.”

Kenneth R. Mayer, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, spoke to Human Events at length about the governor’s race and the political climate in the Badger State.

“If you are going to handicap it, Walker seems to be the favorite,” he said. “All other things being equal, one would expect him to win, but there are a lot of things that are not equal.”

Watch Gov. Scott K. Walker on CNBC with Larry Kudlow:

The state’s governor’s race will be a national contest with outside groups from both sides involved, he said. “I could say it is his race to lose, but that is probably a little strong.”

The top line results of the poll, 49-44, is in range with other polls, he said.

“I would describe it as a reasonable poll, given the understood house-effect, this poll probably overestimates Walker’s support by a little bit—not a lot, but a little bit,” he said.

The professor said he was concerned about an underweighting of minority voters and a house-effect in Gravis polls that shades the firm’s polls two percentage points towards the GOP. “If this was a 55-40, I would say you could ignore it, but that’s not what’s going on.”

The race between Walker and Burke is tighter than Mayer expected, because he was looking for Burke’s support to recede after it because clear that she was going to be the nominee, he said. Instead, Burke’s support has remained steady, while Walker has been caught up in a streak of negative news stories.


Burke has a lot of appealing qualities for the Democrats,” he said. “She is the CEO of a major corporation in the state, she is an outsider,” he said. “If you look at the way Walker and the outside groups have and will portray her as another Madison liberal, but she is not on the left edge of the Democratic Party, I would describe her as a moderate.” The Republican Governors Association currently running negative ads on Burke in the state.

Burke, a sitting member of the Madison school board, led the Waterloo-based Trek bicycle manufacturer, and she was the state’s commerce secretary.

Mayer said there have been no polls that show Walker over 50 percent.

“He has been ranging between 49 and 45 percent.” The Walker campaign has to be worried on two counts, he said. First, after an election and recall and he being in office, if the governor has not convinced a voter to support him yet, he is unlikely to make the sale now—and that anyone who is undecided with break for the challenger.

“If people are really undecided about him, it is not clear what he could say or do to persuade them.” The second problem is that Walker needs a solid win in his own state before launching his run for the White House, he said. If Walker wins a new term, the professor expects him to top out at 52 to 53 percent.

The professor said Wisconsin has a highly polarized and unsettled electorate. “Madison and Milwaukee are deep blue and most of the rest of the state is pretty dark red.”

Although, the state has a liberal reputation, the professor said the suburbs surrounding Milwaukee are among the most conservative areas in the country. These suburbs are the backbone of Walker’s support.

After Walker survived the June 2012 recall election, Republicans assumed that their momentum would carry through to the 2012 presidential election, he said. Instead, even with favorite son Rep. Paul D. Ryan on the GOP ticket for vice president, President Barack Obama won the state.

Obama did not win Wisconsin in a landslide, but it was a solid win, and significantly not what any Republicans expected, he said.

“For the last 20 years, Wisconsin has been almost an archetype of a swing state,” he said. “We have had united Democratic control, we’ve had unified Republican control—in 2010, the state elected one of the most conservative senators, Ron Johnson, two years later, we elected one of the most liberal, Tammy Baldwin.”

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unpopular, it is Wisconsin voters do not have the anger about the federal health care reform that there is in other states. Obama is also unpopular in the state, he said. In a recent visit to the state, Burke did not appear with the president, citing a scheduling conflict.

If the president’s approval ratings were in the 50s or 60s, Burke would have changed her schedule to be seen with him, he said.

In the end, the election will not turn on Obama, but on Walker v. Burke, with both sides looking to leverage the passion for and against Walker, he said.

In 2014, Republicans adore Walker. “Democrats despise him.” The big unknown is turnout, he said. “Obviously, you don’t know what the exact result will be until Election Day.”

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  • rdman_VietVet

    It would be a landslide for Walker in a “sane” Wisconsin.

    Almost total lack of critical thought… instead entitlement, socialist, union dependency mentality.

  • rdman_VietVet

    Oh yeah, Wil… Madison Cap. Times is an unbiased, objective source… and you believe their socialist propaganda, don’t ya’??

  • rdman_VietVet

    That’s a good thing, Wil… prevents nutcase tax and spend Liberals from destroying Wisconsin again.

  • rdman_VietVet

    I bet you do have a messiah… WEAC or SIEU??

  • Mike_in_Wasilla

    Walker saved the state and everyone there is better off for it – BUT- liberals feel bad. And that is the whole story for them they must feel good. That’s what it is all about for them. They don’t use their brains they use their hearts and think with their genitalia.

  • 2richard1

    He’s done a great job showing what happens when the private sector and those oriented to the private sector are allowed the freedoms to show what they can do. None of this politically correct government generic junk just discerning young leaders that get it done. This is an example of the trend the country needs to go in discerning intelligent leaders that make the right choices not based on government but based on common sense.

  • Katielee4211

    I don’t understand why independents are that divided? The state of their state compared to Democrat controlled area’s should make this a pretty easy decision.

  • Katielee4211

    Do you just love taxes when it’s Democrats for the feel ‘good of all’?

  • Katielee4211

    You’ve never been a slave.

  • JayC777

    Oh, so you were lying, then. I don’t have homework. I have a job. You made the claim, the onus is on you to prove it. I don’t give a rodent’s rectum about your color or your false claims of victimhood.

  • JayC777

    You’re smoking crack. The republicans have given you everything you asked for, spineless urchins that they are.

  • quaffer22 .

    Trust me; it isn’t likely that republicans voted to amend the constitution, making pension & retirement funds untouchable.

    I did notice that it was the [left-leaning] AARP that posted the article you cited. They lost many members once people discovered they were in essence; an arm of the democrat party & union mouth-piece. So, your directing people there, is a lost cause.

    I didn’t notice, however, any criticism of Rahm Emanuel [D], or anyone else, adopting similar drastic measures to fund these pensions that have left federal, state & local governments in dizzying debt.

    My advice to hyper-partisan democrats: “You weren’t always this way, you were human once. You were all human! Remember your fear, your confusion!” [Hellraiser]

  • quaffer22 .

    Nicely said, and an astute observation.

  • MikeyParks

    There’s one thing you can expect: there will be more Democrat votes than Democrat voters

  • fxr60

    We need MORE Conservative Governors like Walker!! If you notice all the states with conservative Governors have balanced budgets and money to give back to the people!! Walker is absolutely one of the best!!!

  • fxr60

    And the Jimmy Hoffa crooked Union types!!!

  • fxr60

    So True!!! I see where California insurance sent out insurance cards trying to get people to sign up for Obamacare and they had ALREADY marked a voters registration card for the DemocRATS along with the insurance! This couple turned them in for voter fraud and they tried to blame it on someone else. A couple of ladies in Ohio admitted they voted 4-5 times- Al Sharpton had one of them on his show!!!

  • Lardo140

    49 to 44. That’s simply unbelivable. What the heck is wrong with my Wisconsin bretheran? The spread should be more like 85 to 15. Burke is not only a flaming lefty, with typical tax & spend be.iefs, but she’s also a proven liar. Why in the world would nearly half of Wisconsin voters want to take Wisconsin back to the disastrous ways we had prior to Scott Walker? it makes no sense. I can only think of one reason.

    44% of the people are stupid.

  • Bob A

    Good news for cheese heads.

  • sissi212

    Keeping my fingers crossed for Walker!

  • chillinout.

    I would be a landslide for Burke in sane Wisconsin, but instead we have evangelicals and tea-baggers who think being a simpleton is a badge of honor

  • chillinout.


  • Chatty Kathy

    And thank God for that!!! Much better than being a bunch of latte sapping, granola sipping liberal sissies.

  • rdman_VietVet

    Typical… in your case, total lack of critical thought.

  • sosueme001

    ahh…crunching….granola CRUNCHING

  • sosueme001

    So. is the next recall election already penciled in for next year….or will the silly-socialists finally admit defeat and direct their efforts toward sinking New Jersey or installing Wally-World type greeters at the Rio Grande?

    I am surrounded by Morons…

  • Donald York

    It is the unions who are spending your dues money to buy politicians. Unions are the main ones that want to replace Scott Walker.
    Let me ask you brothers and sisters of your unions, has your dues been raised recently? If not, they will.

  • mac12sam12

    You’re another party hack that ignores the failures of your Fuhrer.

  • mac12sam12

    I’m guessing you don’t pay taxes, PJ boy.

  • JayC777

    What the eff are you talking about?

  • jebor

    After watching the dumbocRATs in the state house during the “recall” I’m shocked anyone would admit to being a dem. , major dirtbags !

  • jebor

    Walker pres. 2016

  • jebor

    Nailed that one !

  • deadstar

    The taxation of Social Security began in 1984 following passage of a set of Amendments in 1983, which were signed into law by President Reagan in April 1983. The taxation of benefits was a proposal which came from the Greenspan Commission appointed by President Reagan.