Poll: Walker Leads Possible Challengers, State Still Split On Recalling Him

A new survey of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling (D) has some mixed news for Republican Gov. Scott Walker. On the one hand, a narrow majority of the state’s registered voters disapprove of his performance. However, the voters are also split on whether they would want to recall him — as the Democrats are aiming to do — and he leads various potential Dem opponents.

The new poll finds Walker with an approval rating of 47%, compared to a slightly higher disapproval of 51%.

However, a later question asked: “Would you support or oppose recalling Scott Walker from office before his term is up?” The answer here is 48% in favor, to 49% opposed.

“It won’t be easy for Democrats to recall Scott Walker,” writes PPP president Dean Debnam. “Voters aren’t as angry with him as they were earlier in the year and if Russ Feingold’s really out of the mix there’s not an obvious Democrat to pit against him.”

In a previous survey released in August, PPP speculated that there could be an anti-recall bias among a key section of swing voters, who would be inclined to vote for an incumbent in a recall.Of course, it should be noted that recalls in Wisconsin do not contain any straight up-or-down vote on the incumbent, but are in effect special elections, in which the incumbent is running to complete their own term against challengers. So how does Walker compare for now?

In the new poll, there followed a series of hypothetical match-ups of Walker against different Democratic challengers, assuming that a recall was taking place: Walker leads Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca by 48%-42%; he edges his 2010 opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by 48%-46%; he leads state Sen. Jon Erpenbach by 47%-40%; he leads former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk by 49%-41%; he leads former Rep. Steve Kagen by 47%-39%; he leads Rep. Ron Kind by 47%-41%; and he leads former Rep. Dave Obey by 47%-42%.

Only one Democrat took a lead against Walker, with former Sen. Russ Feingold ahead by 49%-46%. However, Feingold announced this past August that he will not run for office in 2012, either for governor or in the state’s open U.S. Senate race.