A new Daily Kos/Public Policy Polling survey of Wisconsin shows Republican Gov. Scott Walker leading his Democratic challengers in the state’s recall election.
Walker was tested against all four Democrats in the race: He leads Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett 50 percent to 46 percent; former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk 50 percent to 43 percent; Secretary of State Doug La Follette 51 percent to 40 percent and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout 50 percent to 38 percent. The survey of likely voters was conducted from April 13-15, and has a 2.9 percent margin of error.
In a late February survey from PPP, which leans Democratic — taken from the wider sample pool of registered voters — Barrett led Walker 49 percent to 46 percent; Falk edged Walker 48 percent to 47 percent; Walker edged La Follette 46 percent to 45; and Walker was ahead of Vinehout 46 percent to 44 percent.
The TPM Poll Average shows Walker leading Barrett by 48.2 percent to 46 percent.
The poll also shows Barrett and Falk’s personal favorable ratings in negative territory, though Falk’s are much worse. Barrett’s favorable rating is 41 percent, and his unfavorable rating is 45 percent; Falk’s numbers are 36 percent favorable to 52 percent unfavorable.
The pollster’s analysis explains that the switch to the likely voter screen could be boosting Walker, and also speculates on the current impact of the Democratic race:
The other thing is that independents have flipped from our last poll, from supporting Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett by 12 to going for Walker by three. We’ve seen independents go back and forth on Walker several times over the last year, though I’m not certain what causes that. Walker’s been very aggressive about getting on the air and that may have helped firm up his standing, especially as Democrats fight amongst each other over their nominee.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dems gain some ground back once they’re on the same page after the primary, just as Mitt Romney has gained on Barack Obama here with Republicans on the same page after Rick Santorum’s exit.
Also notable is that Walker’s 51 percent approval rating, compared with 48 percent who view him unfavorably. That particular question, and its generally close margin in most polls, could be the one that truly determines the outcome of the race.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary, Barrett still leads the field, though his margin has shrunk since the previous poll: Barrett led 38 percent, to 24 percent for Falk, 9 percent for La Follette and 6 percent for Vinehout.
In the previous poll from February — before the recall was officially triggered and before Barrett had actually entered the race — Barrett led with 45 percent, Falk had 18 percent, La Follette 14 percent and Vinehout 6 percent.
Ed note: Eric Kleefeld was a volunteer for Tom Barrett’s gubernatorial campaign in the Democratic primary that year, in which Kathleen Falk was also a candidate. He has had no additional political involvement with Barrett since that time.