Democratic internal poll: Walker's lead now within the margin of error

This cuts entirely against the conventional wisdom, backed by polling, that Walker’s lead is starting to widen, not narrow. And it sure does stink of desperate spin that they’re framing this excitedly as Barrett being within the margin of error when this same firm’s last poll in March actually had Barrett leading by one.

And yet, that little Eeyore on my shoulder is whispering: “Trouble.” Can’t help it; this is what it means to be a pessimist, my friends. If you grew up rooting for the Jets, you’d understand.

Walker has been pulling ahead of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) in polls on the June 5 recall election sparked by the governor’s collective bargaining reforms. But internal polling from We Are Wisconsin, a labor-backed coalition supporting the recall, finds a dead heat.

In a survey of 472 recall voters conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research from May 19 to 21, Walker leads Barrett 50 to 47 — within the poll’s four-point margin of error. Barrett leads with independents, 50 percent to 44 percent.

We Are Wisconsin spokesman Kelly Steele argued that the polls showing Walker in the lead oversampled Republicans and that the “pre-mortems” are premature.

“[T]his race remains a dead heat, with Barrett solidifying and even building on his lead amongst Independents, and Democrats’ turnout operation in full gear as early voting and GOTV begin in earnest,” Steele said in a memo.

A 50/47 lead for Walker isn’t dramatically different from most of the recent polls. Earlier this month Rasmussen had him leading by five, then Marquette had him leading by six, and then PPP (which is Daily Kos’s pollster) had him up by four. Then the bombshell from We Ask America showing Walker ahead by nine dropped, which, combined with the DNC’s reluctance to spend money in the state, made it look like the writing was on the wall. And maybe it is; I’d still bet that he wins comfortably. But it could also be that the race is bound to tighten in the home stretch. Why that would be, I have no idea: Normally the polls move late in a campaign as voters start paying closer attention, but Wisconsin’s been paying close attention to this for two years now. Barring some sort of epic gaffe from Walker, there’s no reason to think he’s going to blow it. And it’s worth noting that the We Ask America poll showing Walker up big is based on a sample of likely voters that’s more than two and a half times the size of this new Democratic poll, so if you had to bet on one or the other, you’d bet on landslide. Exit question: Second look at optimism?

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