Poll: Walker Has Single-Digit Lead On Recall Challengers

A new poll released on Wednesday shows that Gov. Scott Walker might still hold on to his job even though more than a million signatures were handed in for his recall last week.

The poll, released by the Marquette Law School, shows Walker holding a 6- to 10-point lead against the four top candidates who are thinking about running against him in a recall election.

The poll found the governor holding a 50 to 44 percent margin against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a 49 to 42 percent lead against former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, a 49 to 43 percent lead on former U.S. Rep. David Obey and a 50 to 40 percent lead on Democratic state Sen. Tim Cullen.

Professor Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, said the numbers show a move to recall a sitting governor will be a challenge for Democrats, especially without an identified frontrunner.

“The old line ‘You don?t beat somebody with nobody’ is true,” said Franklin. “Other polls have asked only if Gov. Walker should be recalled and have found closer races. But in the end, some specific Democrat will face Gov. Walker.”

Franklin said that the potential Democratic candidates are significantly less well known than Walker. Ninety-five percent of the voters in the poll had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Walker. But only 61 percent could give an opinion of Barrett, 44 percent could give one of Falk, 42 percent could give one for Obey and only 18 percent could give one of Cullen.

“The takeaway is it’s a good starting position for Walker to be in to be up by single digits, but the Democrats have some room to grow as well,” Franklin said.

Democratic voters were also relatively unfamiliar with the possible candidates. Forty percent of all Democratic voters were unable to rate Barrett; 57 percent were unable to rate Falk; 59 percent were unable to rate Obey; and 80 percent were unable to rate Cullen.

The poll of 701 Wisconsin registered voters was conducted between Jan. 19 and Jan. 22, and is the first of a series of polls to be conducted in 2012. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.