Thursday, February 4, 2016

Walker doesn’t focus on his poll numbers -- but maybe he should

Governor tells reporters he’s been in this position before...except, he hasn’t

Thirty-six percent -- the number of Wisconsinites that want Gov. Scott Walker to run for a third term.

Sixty-one percent -- the number that want Walker to not run again once his term is up.

Fifty-seven percent -- the disapproval rating that Walker currently has among registered voters.

These numbers, from the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, are not good news for the governor. But in spite of them, Walker says he remains focused on possibly running for a third term.

“Well, in 2011, my poll numbers were so low that Time magazine called me ‘Dead Man Walker,’” he said on Wednesday, reminding reporters that he won the recall just one year after those poll numbers were taken.

But there’s just one problem with that assessment: Walker’s polling numbers from then weren’t as low as they are now. To compare then and now disregards huge jumps in his net approval ratings.

Public Policy Polling, a left-leaning polling company, published a poll at the height of those protests (PDF) in March that demonstrated Walker still had the approval of 46 percent of the state. Only 52 percent disapproved of his short time in office.

That’s a net disapproval of only six percent. Today, Walker is dealing with a net disapproval of 19 percent, more than three times as high as when he “dropped the bomb” on Wisconsin (his words, not mine).

That same PPP poll from 2011 showed that, while the governor suffered an approval rating of only eight percent of Democratic voters, Republicans approved of his job by a rate of 86 percent. Today, however, that Republican approval rating has dropped to 72 percent.

Among independents the drop was even sharper. In 2011, 45 percent of PPP surveyed independents approved of Walker’s time on the job. Today, only 15 percent of independents approve.

With Walker’s numbers dropping by 16 percent among his own party, and dropping by 30 percent among independents, it’s a safe bet to say that the governor is in trouble politically. How he somehow believes he will be able to run for -- and win -- a third term in office is a mystery.

Then again, this is the same governor that believed tax cuts for the rich would bring huge job numbers to the state (instead of the disastrous last-in-the-Midwest ranking we have under his leadership). So maybe his ambitions aren’t that mysterious after all.

Maybe Walker really is that ignorant.

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