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Gov. Walker's Approval Ratings Tumble in Wisconsin

Gov. Walker
Eric Thayer/Getty Images
The latest Marquette poll spelled bad news for Gov. Walker on Thursday.

Gov. Scott Walker has enjoyed decent job performance ratings since the Marquette Law School poll began in 2012. But, it was all bad news for him in the latest poll.

His approval ratings, in the first survey of 2015, have plummeted. The latest numbers also indicate strong opposition to key provisions of the governor’s budget.

Director of the Marquette Law School Poll Charles Franklin calls the drop in Gov. Walker’s approval rating breathtaking.

“Over the three-plus years we’ve been doing the Marquette Law School poll, you can see how stable the governor’s job approval rating has been. It’s been around 49 percent, disapproval has been around 45 percent.”

Now, Walker’s approval rating is only 41 percent, while 56 percent of those surveyed disapprove of the job he’s doing. “So, that just highlights how big the movement has been since October,” Franklin says.

Franklin says another staggering number is those who oppose Walker’s plan to cut funding for K-12 schools. Opposition stands at 78 percent. When it comes to his proposal to slash $300 million from the UW System, 70 percent of respondents oppose the cut.

Franklin notes the numbers are coming out, the same week that the Joint Finance committee is starting to dig into the budget.

“Legislators have talked about reining that cut in some, but still it’s quite striking when you see any category getting up over 65 or 70 percent support. That’s an eye catching level of opinion,” Franklin says.

The poll also shows how Walker would measure up to Democrat Hillary Clinton in a hypothetic race for the White House. Support for Clinton is 52 percent, compared with only 40 percent who favor the Republican governor. Franklin says the results mirror national trends.

“This is very much what national polling has shown, in which she leads every Republican candidate in most polls.”

And the Clinton-Walker numbers remain virtually the same as the last time Franklin asked Wisconsin voters in October of 2013.

“So, virtually no movement in the past 1.5 years. I think that makes sense. The campaign is only beginning to ramp up,” Franklin says.

In addition to gauging where voters stand on Walker's policies, the poll asked about a potential rematch between Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold. Johnson defeated Feingold in 2010. According to the poll results, voters favor Feingold over Johnson by a margin of 54 to 38 percent. Feingold is widely expected to challenge Johnson next year.

Listen to a longer interview Lake Effect's Mitch Teich recorded with Director of the Marquette Law School Poll, Charles Franklin.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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