The first highly anticipated Marquette Law School poll is out and overall things are looking rosy for Governor Walker's administration.
The most interesting question in the poll was on limiting collective bargaining for state employees, the exact wording asked, "are you in favor or opposed to limiting public employees' ability to collectively bargain over benefits and non-wage issues?" This was the most divisive question in the poll with 48% in favor and 47% opposed. The candidate that can state their case best on this particular issue will win the election, there is no question about it. Even more than the head to head polling of the candidates, this question shows where the Wisconsin electorate is today ideologically.
The results of the poll indicate just how each side will likely craft their campaign in the coming months. The Walker administration will likely focus their attention on the money Wisconsin state government saved by forcing state workers to contribute to their pensions and increase contributions to their health benefits. An astounding 74% of respondents supported the increased contributions.
By contrast Democrats will focus on the Walker's cut of state aid to local schools and a tightening of eligibility requirements for BadgerCare. Both issues received disapproval of 65% and 55% respectively.
The self identified breakdown of the poll's respondents was 46% Democrat, 44% Republican and 8% Independent.
Walker received a 50% favorable rating while three of his four potential opponents received "don't know enough" ratings above 50%, basically signaling the public is not familiar enough with Kathleen Falk, Tim Cullen or David Obey. Tom Barrett being the only exception, he received only a 32% favorable rating.
So even if there are Democratic arguments that the voters could connect with there is no candidate they can connect with. Going up against the nationally recognized Walker personality will be difficult for older, less energetic, and generally unknown candidates like Falk, Cullen or Obey.
Head to head Walker beats Falk 49% to 42% and he also beats Barrett 50% to 44%.
When asked "Thinking about all the changes in state government over the past year, do you think Wisconsin is better off in the long run because of these changes or worse off in the long run?" a large majority 54% said the state was better off in contrast with just 40% saying that Wisconsin was worse off.
Wisconsinites outlook on national political candidates is somewhat surprising, given the strong support for Walker. In a Romney/Obama matchup Obama gets 48% to Romney's 40% .Ron Paul has garnered the highest favorable rating amongst the GOP candidates for the nomination at 31% and Rick Santorum had the lowest unfavorable rating at only 21%. Newt Gingrich had by far the largest unfavorable rating at a whooping 53%.
When it comes to the GOP Wisconsin is not slated to vote until the race will already be decided.
About the Author: Robert is an educator that lives in Southeastern Wisconsin. He has studied and taught political science for over 20 years.