The last Marquette poll, which had Walker leading Barrett by one thin point, made me want to drink whiskey in the daytime. This one makes me want to drink champagne. Yesterday’s dKos/PPP poll had nearly identical numbers so it’s safe to say this really is the state of the race in Wisconsin at this moment.
I can’t believe I’m asking this, but are we headed for a Scott Walker landslide?
Republicans are more likely to say they are “absolutely certain” to vote on June 5, at 91 percent, than are Democrats and independents, both at 83 percent. In other areas of participation, Republicans also have an advantage. Sixty-two percent of Republicans say that they have tried to persuade someone to vote for or against a candidate, compared to 54 percent among Democrats and 48 percent among independents…
Another indication of Republican mobilization is a shift in the balance of Republican and Democratic partisanship over the past several months among all registered voters. In January there were two percentage points more Democrats than Republicans in the poll. That rose to eight points in February but has since declined to six points in March, three points in April and now just one point in May. When independents are asked if they feel closer to a party, the balance tips to a one-point Republican advantage in the May data. Such changes might be due to random variation from sample to sample, as the month-to-month changes are not large. However, polling by the Democratic polling firm, Public Policy Polling, finds a similar trend…
Collective bargaining continues to divide the electorate by single digits. Voters prefer to keep the current collective bargaining law rather than return to what it was prior to last year, by a 50-43 percentage point margin. Restoring collective bargaining is supported by 78 percent of Democrats and opposed by 81 percent of Republicans. Among independents, 53 percent want to keep the current law while 38 percent want to return to the previous law.
Last month Walker’s approval rating was 47/51. This month it’s 50/46. Some of that’s due to the good news on jobs in his first year in office and some of it’s surely due to Walker tapping his enormous war chest for the recall effort. But judging from that amazing split among indies on the collective bargaining law, Walker’s message that it’s been a net plus for the state has apparently penetrated. Back when the Madison protests were raging, I think big labor’s dream was to turn the Walker recall election into a referendum on public-employee unions. Then they got some unwelcome facts about the new law and clammed up about it, but it looks like they’re getting their referendum anyway. Hope they enjoy the results.
I don’t know what to make of that trend towards the GOP among the Wisconsin electorate generally, though. Two possibilities. One: Could be that the uptick in Republican identification is being driven partly by the presidential primaries that began in January and rolled on until April. Some of the anti-Obama rhetoric from Romney, Santorum, Gingrich et al. may have nudged fencesitters into the Republican column while O’s sat mostly silent on the sidelines. Two: Note that Democratic identification surged in February, shortly after Democrats announced they had the signatures needed to force a recall election. Maybe that woke up tepid Republicans and fencesitters to the possibility that Walker really might be removed and that labor would treat that as an epochal victory proving the righteousness of PEUs, resulting in a sustained pro-GOP backlash. Or, maybe this is all just the product of standard political forces at work. Walker’s spent a bunch of money to make his case and the national economy under The One continues to reek, so undecideds are reacting predictably. No wonder the DNC has apparently thrown in the towel.
All Romney needs to do now is figure out how to keep that GOP enthusiasm going and he can force O to spend a bunch of money on a state the Democrats never expected they’d need to protect. Speaking of which, Mitt’s favorable rating is now up to 40/44 from 33/46 in April, which was to be expected as hard feelings among Santorum and Gingrich fans after the bitter GOP primary start to soften. Obama will spend the next six months trying to knock it back down again. Quick, media — more stories about bullying that happened 50 years ago, stat.