I wanted to give a recent Scott Walker/ recall polls the same treatment I gave to Marquette University's faulty January poll. And no, I won't county the absurd Rasmussen poll that got released, because they are documented propagandists with a huge GOP bias and they fixed a poll in Wisconsin last year to exaggerate support for Walker and Act 10.
Instead, I'll look at the Public Policy Poll in Wisconsin, which showed Walker behind Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk and Ron Kind (Barrett led by 3, and Falk and Kind led by 1), and I'll break it down a few different ways, to see what's really going on. (you can check out the poll yourself, as PPP is very transparent about what they release.)
First, let's break down the ideology breakdown of the polls, and then compare it with the 2010 Wisconsin exit poll given by CBS News. The PPP poll has it go 29-31-40 liberal-moderate-conservative, while the 2010 exit poll was 21-43-36. At first glance, this would seem to underplay Walker's support, as the liberal amount in the PPP Poll is 8 points higher than the 2010 exit poll. But let's run the numbers and find out for sure.
Walker's approval level in the PPP Poll is at 47%, but it changes greatly based on ideology. Basically, the only people that approve of Walker are righties, and even moderates can't stand him.
Walker approval-disapproval by ideology
Liberal/ Very liberal- 11-89
Moderate - 29-69 (!!!)
Conservative - 82-15
Very conservative - 93-6
So now you turn that into the Wisconsin exit polling weights, and we get- Walker at just under 46% approval. So he actually does 1 point WORSE under the actual turnout in the 2010 election, even with fewer liberals in the group and with an election that featured motivated Republican voters and much less motivated Dem voters.
Let's do the same with party ID. The PPP poll has it 33% Dem, 31% Republican, and 36% Independent. As you'd imagine, Dems and GOPs view Walker completely differently, but Independents tend not to like the guy.
Walker approval-disapproval by party ID
Now, I'd argue that you should drop a few points of Walker's approval on the Independent side because we know Teabaggers call themselves "Independent" when they're really far-right Republicans. But we'll leave that part out of it for now, and compare it with the 2010 exit poll of 37% Dem, 36% GOP, and 28% Independent.
The result? This time the number ends up just under 48%, so a minor INCREASE, but around the 47% of the PPP poll's totals.
Now let's go to some of the matchups in a possible recall guv election, and we'll go to the ideology cross-tabs to see if Scotty would get sent home. Again, we'll take the PPP answers and use the 21-43-36 liberal-moderate-conservative 2010 exit poll, and I'll leave off Feingold because I'm convinced Russ isn't going to run.
Walker vs. Barrett- Barrett leads 49.54 - 45.59
Walker vs. Falk - Falk leads 47.97 - 46.02
Walker vs. Vinehout - Walker leads 45.17 - 44.05
Walker vs. La Follette - Walker leads 45.60 - 44.26
Walker vs. Kind - Kind leads 45.69 - 44.74
Walker vs. Barca - Walker leads 47.38 - 45.55
So the PPP numbers are more or less in line, but the numbers also show that Walker loses moderates by at least 25 points among all opponents, and loses mods to Barrett by 35. This is why Barrett has the biggest lead, and exposes Walker's largest vulnerability- he only has his base, no one else supports Walker.
Walker also has an age problem- only old white guys favor him. Walker loses in all age ranges under 65 against Barrett, and is down 30 points (33-63) to Falk among voters under 30. Even against Vinehout and La Follette, Walker can only draw even with the 46-65 Boomers, and loses both groups in the 18-45 age range. The only reason he's even close is that he wins people over 65 by 15 points or so against all opponents.
18-29 year-olds were only 10% of the PPP sample, and 30-45 were 28% of the sample, and that's notably different than the 2010 exit poll which was 15% 18-29 and 23% 30-44. The PPP sample also has 20% of voters be over 65, while the 2010 exit poll had it at 17%.
So adjust the ages to fit the 2010 exit poll, and let's see what we get.
Walker vs. Barrett- Barrett leads 49.38 - 46.00
Walker vs. Falk - Falk leads 49.13 - 45.63
Walker vs. Vinehout - Walker leads 44.93 - 44.51
Walker vs. La Follette - Walker leads 45.51 - 44.43
Walker vs. Kind - Kind leads 45.77 - 45.15
Walker vs. Barca - Walker leads 47.08 - 45.48
Among other things, Falk's lead goes from 1 in the PPP poll to nearly 4, and the Vinehout race becomes a virtual toss-up. In fact, Walker doesn't get above 47.08 in ANY of these polls when weighted for age, which means if he doesn't get 1/3 of undecideds, he can't win any of these races (and good luck having Walker bring in any undecideds to his way at this point.)
So when you break down the PPP numbers and compare it to the 2010 Wisconsin turnout that put Scott Walker into office, it is probable that he would be tossed out, and that's especially true if young voters and non-conservatives turn out. Too bad for Scotty that a big side benefit to getting all the recall signatures is the huge database of voter contacts that the Wisconsin Democrats will have to make sure these people stay engaged and get to the polls.
So no wonder Walker and the WisGOPs passed voter ID and other measures to suppress the vote- they know that if a real cross-section of Wisconsin turns out at the voter booth, THEY CAN'T WIN.