Poll: Wisconsin Voters Turn On Gov. Walker, Back State Unions

March 1, 2011 6:58 a.m.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) is rapidly losing support from his constituents as he continues to push budget proposals that would cut collective bargaining rights and benefits for most of the states public employee unions, according to new data from a PPP poll, a poll whose results TPM first reported on Monday. His support has slipped so much that, after just two months in office, voters are now evenly divided over whether he should be recalled.

A majority of Wisconsin voters now disapprove of Walker’s job performance, a reversal from the positive approval rating he enjoyed immediately after election day. Further, most voters support collective bargaining rights for the state’s public employee unions, and oppose Walker’s proposal to cut those same rights.

In the poll, 57% of respondents said public employees should have the right to collectively bargain, compared to 37% who said they should not. A similar majority, 55%, said the state’s unions should have the same amount of rights or more than they already enjoy, a rebuke to Walker’s efforts to roll back those rights.

Further, slim majorities said they side with the unions and senate Democrats — who fled the state to delay a vote on Walker’s bill — over the governor in the dispute.

Walker’s job approval has fallen as the budget stalemate drags on. According to PPP, 52% of voters now disapprove of his job performance, while 46% approve of the job he is doing. That split mirrors another finding in the poll that PPP released Monday, which found Walker losing in a hypothetical do-over election against Democrat Tom Barret, 52% to 45%.

Also ominously for the governor, the state is evenly split at 48% over whether he should be recalled. It’s unclear how viable that option would be, but the fact that almost half of voters would consider in theory is certainly a bad sign for Walker moving forward.

The PPP poll was conducted February 24-27 among 768 Wisconsin voters. It has a margin of error of 3.5%.

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