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Walker Mishaps Mean Lower Poll Rankings

Gov. Scott Walker
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Gov. Walker is losing ground in states such as Iowa

Gov. Walker has been getting a lot of attention lately, but it’s not the kind the presidential hopeful wants. 

In recent weeks, he’s walked back comments on immigration, offended Muslims and criticized career politicians insisting he is not one of them. The continuous negative coverage is not something Walker was used to in Wisconsin.

Just a few weeks ago, Walker was considered a GOP frontrunner for the presidential bid. Iowa polls had him in the lead, and some observers thought it might remain that way.

“He’s supposed to be somebody who can appeal to the conservative base," JR Ross says. He's editor of the website Wispolitics.

Ross says that in Wisconsin, Walker was known and liked for sticking to his message. But he’s developed a reputation at the national level of flip-flopping on issues.  

“He’s in a much more intense media environment than what he’s used to,” Ross says. He says that means Walker’s habit of thinking out loud is getting him in a bit of trouble.

“If you go back and look at his history, he has had this habit of he’s got an excellent reputation for message discipline once he reaches his kind of final answer, but in the process, you know, like in Wisconsin he’d go to La Crosse, Eau Claire and Wasau and maybe say something a little bit different as he kind of refined the message. But once he reached it, he was locked in. What’s happening though is you have different media contingencies in each of those cities when he would stop, now he’s got the same media contingency with him 24/7 and they are picking up on every single nuance that he changes,” Ross says.

The changes in message are a cause for concern when it comes to Walker backers. He says Walker seeming to flip flop on issues is an even bigger problem than offensive comments the governor has made.

For instance, the Islamic Society of Milwaukee is basically asking for an apology after Walker said there is only a handful of Muslims that are “reasonable” or “moderate.”

Still, Ross says that while Walker is struggling on some fronts – particularly in response to Donald Trump, the governor still has time to right his campaign.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
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