Despite some mediocre approval numbers, Governor Scott Walker has surged into a narrow lead in the recall election scheduled for June.
A new automated survey from a Democratic polling firm finds that Gov. Scott Walker (R) has a narrow lead over both of his likely rivals in Wisconsin's June recall election.
According to Public Policy Polling, Walker leads Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) 50 percent to 45 percent and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk (D) 50 percent to 43 percent.
That's a shift in PPP polling from February, when Barrett had a slim lead over Walker while Falk tied the incumbent.
"We found with almost all of the recall elections last summer that the electorate just wasn't as Democratic as 2008," he said. Moreover, "[I]ndependents have flipped from our last poll, from supporting Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett by 12 to going for Walker by three."
Only three percent of the 1136 likely voters surveyed were undecided.
Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski suggested Walker's head start in television advertising was a factor but that "after $12 million in advertising ... he remains at a number dangerous to incumbents."
The poll was taken from April 13 to 15; the margin of error is 2.9 percent. Robopolls cannot capture cell-phone only voters; 25 percent of Wisconsin adults lived in cell phone-only households as of early 2010.
Pollster Tom Jensen explained that it was the organization's first to use a likely voter screen for this race.
First, it is significant that Walker has hit 50% support against both challengers. The second piece of good news is that the numbers are based on "likely voters" rather than registered voters. The difficulty in modeling likely voters in a summer recall election is great, but it serves as a starting point for identifying trends. In this case, since the electorate is more Republican than in 2008, any "enthusiasm gap" between the parties will be lessened.
The bad news is that Walker is still in trouble and needs to gin up some enthusiasm of his own if he is going to prevail.