I wanted to give a few numbers from the Marquette Law School Poll of Wisconsin that was released on Thursday. As usual, while the toplines get the headlines, you'll get a lot more insight if you dig into the crosstabs, which Charles Franklin and Company are always nice enough to give in deep detail.
First of all, Gov Walker's approval rating was newsworthy in that nothing has changed on that front. Still stuck below 40% (38.8%, to be exact), and not significantly different from what we've seen this Summer. What is noteworthy in this poll is that Walker's disapproval comes from every region of the state.
Scott Walker approve-disapprove, Feb 2016 ,
City of Milwaukee 27.7-69.1
Rest of MKE market 44.0-48.5
Madison market 25.1-70.1
GB/Appleton market 45.0-46.6
Rest of Wisconsin 42.0-51.3
So Walker's even underwater in the parts of the state that he had strength in for the November 2014 election (SE Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee and GB/Appleton). In addition, 54% of rural Wisconsinites disapproved of Walker in that poll, reiterating how widespread the dislike for Walker is throughout Wisconsin these days.
Another standout stat in the polls on Walker's approval and in the polls for November's U.S. Senate race (where Russ Feingold led incumbent Ron Johnson 49-37), is just how badly the GOP is doing with self-described moderate voters. This also reflects in a sour mood among moderates regarding the direction of the state under its current GOP control.
Moderates, Marquette Law Poll, Feb 2016
Walker approval/disapproval- 24.7-64.8
Feingold vs. Johnson- Feingold 56.3-21.4
Wisconsin on right track/wrong track- 32.5-62.3
The same pattern of moderates overwhelmingly favoring Democrats repeats in the presidential matchups that were presented in that poll. And you will notice that while Hillary Clinton has decent-sized leads over her potential GOP competition, Bernie Sanders dominates those same potential opponents, which underscores why Sanders does 10-12 points better against all opponents than Clinton did in this poll.
Moderates, Marquette Law Poll 2016
Clinton vs. Cruz- Clinton 52.3-32.6
Sanders vs. Cruz- Sanders 67.9-16.4
Clinton vs. Rubio- Clinton 51.7-32.6
Sanders vs. Rubio- Sanders 68.7-17.7
Clinton vs. Trump- Clinton 54.6-28.2
Sanders vs. Trump- Sanders 64.7-21.8
What's interesting to note is that in the state Supreme Court race, JoAnne Kloppenburg only leads Rebecca Bradley among moderates 33.1-24.5. Given that Ms. Bradley (Foundation) has been promoted 3 times by Scott Walker in her short career, and was an "unannounced speaker" at the WMC Business Day event this week, standing alongside Sen. Johnson and Gov. Walker, it seems like it might be a good strategy to tie Bradley to her fellow Republicans. It might also make sense to say Bradley is cut from the mold of the GOP obstructionists like (mo)Ron Johnson that have pledged to block any Supreme Court appointee of President Obama (a move opposed by over 50% of state voters, and 58% of moderates). Because if Kloppenburg can expand her small lead on Bradley to the 30-40 point leads Dems are pulling among moderates in other state races, Kloppenburg will win on April 5, and not by a little.
So what the Marquette Poll toplines show is that the Wisconsin GOP has fallen greatly out of favor with the majority of Wisconsin voters, with the Republicans living in a bubble that is out of step with the rest of the state. In fact, these are numbers that are so bad that it makes it very possible for the State Senate to flip this November, and for Dems to make significant gains in the State Assembly....IF the Dems have a presidential candidate that will do well among moderates and in rural Wisconsin (cough-BERNIE-cough).