The new survey of Wisconsin from Marquette University Law School shows Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a tight race for his upcoming recall election, but with a narrow lead right now over his potential Democratic rivals.
Recalls in Wisconsin do not feature any direct up-or-down vote on the incumbent, but instead effectively take the form of a special election with the incumbent and a challenger fighting it out to serve the rest of the term. Once state election officials trigger the recall at a special meeting on March 30, the Democratic primary will be held on May 8, and the general election on June 5.
In this poll, Walker leads all potential Democratic opponents, though some by only close margins: Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk trails by 49%-45%; Milwaukee Mayor and 2010 Democratic nominee Tom Barrett is behind by 47%-45%; state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout trails by 49%-41%; and Secretary of State Doug La Follette trails by 49%-42%.
The survey of registered voters was conducted from March 22-25, and has a ±3.8% margin of error.
In what could be the key indicating number for the recall, the poll gives Walker an approval rating of 50%, and a disapproval of 47%.
The TPM Poll Average for the general election currently gives Barrett a slight edge of 46.8%-46.0%.
And the TPM Poll Average for Walker’s approval shows him moving ahead, to a 50.0%-46.9% rating:
The poll also asked about the current ongoing investigation of former Walker aides form his time as Milwaukee County Executive: “Do you think the ‘John Doe’ investigation is just more politics, or is it really something serious?”
The answer was a closely divided 47% “really something serious,” to 46% “just more politics.”
For the Democratic primary, Barrett leads with a plurality of 36%, followed by Falk 29%, and La Follette and Vinehout at 8% each. If Barrett were to not run, Falk would be the easy favorite with 54% support, La Follette 15%, and Vinehout 12%. The survey of Democratic primary voters has a ±5.2% margin of error.
Falk is already officially in the race. Barrett is not in at this time, but has said he will make his decision shortly before the April 3 election day in Milwaukee for the mayoral race, in which he is widely expected to be re-elected.