A new survey of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling (D) finds some good news for Democrats in their efforts to take control of the state Senate in the upcoming recall elections, in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-public employee union legislation: The state’s voters want to recall Walker — and they would rather have the Democrats in control of the state Senate, too.
The poll finds Walker with an approval rating of only 43%, with 54% disapproval. The poll also asked: “Would you support or oppose recalling Scott Walker from office before his term is up?” The result was support 50%, oppose 47%.
However, recalls in Wisconsin do not take the form of a yes-or-no question on the incumbent, but are effectively special elections pitting the incumbent against an opposing candidate. Thus, Walker was also tested in hypothetical match-ups against two potential Democratic nominees. Former Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost re-election after three terms in the 2010 Republican wave, leads Walker by 52%-42%. And Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee whom Walker defeated by a margin of 52%-47%, now leads Walker by 50%-43%.
“The enthusiasm for recalling Scott Walker is still there three months after the height of the protests in Wisconsin,” writes PPP president Dean Debnam. “He’d be done if the vote was today, it’s just a question of whether that desire to put him out can continue to be sustained in the coming months.”
It should be noted, though, that Wisconsin’s recall laws also require that at least one year of a term be served before an incumbent can be recalled, thus placing Walker out of reach of the recalls until next year. However, there are now nine state Senate recalls going on, against six Republicans and three Democrats, with the Dems hoping to gain at least three net seats and take control of the chamber.
The poll asked: “Would you rather that Democrats or Republicans had control of the State Senate?” The result: Democrats 50%, Republicans 42%. While this statewide poll is not necessarily the same as what might be going on in the individual districts, it would at least appear to be an indicator of the overall mood in Wisconsin.
The poll of registered voters was conducted from May 19-22, and has a ±2.4% margin of error.