Thursday, March 25, 2010

Walker Continues To Slide In The Polls

JSOnline is reporting that Public Policy Polling is showing that the race for governor is a tight one indeed:
A new poll puts the two Republican candidates ahead in the race for governor, but within the poll's margin of error.

The weekend poll of 700 likely voters by Public Policy Polling showed Republican Mark Neumann with 43% and Democrat Tom Barrett with 38%. Republican Scott Walker topped Barrett 42%-39%.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. In both match-ups, 19% of voters were undecided.

One thing that I've learned from my esteemed colleagues like Jay Bullock and Bill Christofferson is that the numbers in themselves aren't as important as the trends of the numbers.

Not too long ago, another poll was showing Walker with a comfortable 10 point lead over Barrett, and an even bigger one over Neumann.

Now you can see that Walker's lead is down to three percentage points which makes it a statistical tie between the two. Even more interesting is when the Walker/Barrett numbers is compared to the Neumann/Barrett numbers, Walker is actually faring worse that Neumann is at the moment.

That is a major shift for the primary race.

Of course, it was reported just a week or two ago that Neumann actually leads Walker everywhere in the state but the Southeastern region. It appears that the momentum is definitely in Nuemann's favor, for the moment anyway. We mustn't forget that the primary is still over five months away.

There are a number of reasons why Walker is continuing to slide in the polls.

First, Walker's been running for governor for the past eight years. He has become stale and just another perpetual candidate. Neumann is fresher and doesn't have that old politician smell about him like Walker does.

Secondly, as many pundits have pointed out time and time again, Neumann doesn't have the negative stigma that many upstate voters attach to anything doing with Milwaukee.

Thirdly, Walker's track record is catching up to him. Even if the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn't report what is going on in Milwaukee, don't believe for a second that the other news sources in the state are about to start to cover up for him. This includes the chunks falling off the courthouse to the fact that Walker cannot run his own departments worth a hill of beans, having the state take over the Income Maintenance Program and now threatening to do the same about the mental health complex.

As a commenter pointed out in a previous post:
I spend a lot of weekends in the northwoods and it ain't clicking for him up there. They seem to know a fair amount about Neumann, and he'll probably do well there.
People don't like to hear about someone laying off workers in these tough times. When I tell them that he's gunning on jobs here most people shake their heads.
All of this is bad enough for any candidate, but Walker's negativity and the negativity and abusiveness of his followers are also turning people off. I've been personally attacked time and time again by his supporters, from Charlie Sykes down to the anonymous blog that deny having any sort of official ties with Walker or his campaign (oh yeah, nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

All of the negativity is even turning off Walker's fellow conservatives, as exemplified in yet another anonymous blog:

Sorry to be such a jerk about it, but we still live in a republic, do we not? We elect our leaders here, do we not? Last I checked, there are still primary elections to nominate candidates, right?

Of course there are. But apparently, that bit of news has yet to reach the cult-like followers of the Milwaukee County Executive.

In fact, to suggest to a Walker supporter that you are not yet entirely on board is, to them, tantamount to treason. If you plan to vote in the Republican primary and discuss openly the fact that you may not support Walker, get ready for an attack on your personal integrity and/or your commitment to conservatism.

Trust me – I’ve had this happen simply for suggesting that Neumann’s business experience and unassailable record in Congress makes him qualified to be Wisconsin governor.

This same site also gives the other negative trait shared by Walker and his acolytes - their rank hypocrisy:

What I can’t respect, however, is rank hypocrisy. Take, for example, this recent tweet from the good folks over at the ScottforGov blog.

StrongWisconsin.Our Latest Commercial:“Insiders” NOW Neumann is trying to tie Walker to Bailouts, big spending/Stimulus?More negativity!

Big deal, you say. So Walker’s people are complaining about Neumann’s ad that doesn’t even mention Walker. He’s “going negative”. Well, here’s the deal. Out of one side of their mouth, Walker’s people cry about Neumann going negative (even though Neumann’s ads don’t mention Walker) while, out of the other side, these same people pour out their own constant barrage of petty, unending attacks on Neumann.

One could conceivably say that Walker's continuous slide down the polls is a good thing for Wisconsin, since it would indicated that he is becoming increasingly less likely to become governor this election cycle either.

However, it does cause me a fair level of concern. Judging from his past track record, whenever Walker and his team feel that they are having a problem, they tend to react in a knee-jerk fashion. I could easily see Walker hitting the panic button in the near future and doing something drastic, like laying off hundreds of workers and slashing, if not completely shutting down, a lot of needed and necessary services. Not that this would help him any in the polls. In fact, it would probably just the opposite effect and turn the decline in his standings into a full-fledged nosedive. But that won't stop him from doing it anyway, since he is bereft of any new and/or positive ideas.

Then it is up to us, the tax payers, to clean up another one of Walker's massive messes.

As a final thought, for those that are sure to want to snark on Tom Barrett being behind either of the Republicans in the polling, let me point out a couple of things. One, the polls show Barrett at a statistical tie with either candidate, so it's not like he's getting whooped on.

Secondly, both Neumann and Walker have been running for months longer than Barrett, and have run a half dozen TV ads between them. Neumann has also had at least one radio ad and Walker's been on the air with Charlie Sykes and Vicki McKenna more times than anyone can remember. Barrett hasn't run any sort of ad yet. And yet he's still tied with either one of them. Now, to be fair, Barrett has been receiving a lot of positive press for the jobs he has been bringing to Milwaukee and for being the hero last summer.

But can you imagine how Barrett's numbers are going to soar once he starts advertising as well?

No wonder Team Walker is running so scared right now. They should be.


  1. The best part the more people know Walker, the less they like him.

  2. Big Talker Scott Walker is going down.

  3. What will Walker do if his bid for the governorship fails yet again? Does he really want to stick around in the job he's spent the last 6 years campaigning to get out of? His lack of contingency in dealing with problems tells me he does not plan on doing so.

  4. This might be the dynamite stick to blast him out of office, but someone has to step up to lead. The damned leadership vacuum in Milwaukee county is evidenced by his continuance in office.

  5. William,

    I've heard speculation that once Walker drops out of the race, he will be sitting at some cushy job at the Bradley Foundation until Sensenbrenner finally retires, then he will try to run for that seat.

  6. Capper, you make some good and interesting points about both Walker and Neumann, the race between them, and their standing in the overall primary. However, I think you're leaving something out. If outstate voters look down on Milwaukee and its politicians, won't that hurt Barrett's chances as well?