The biannual Wisconsin Public Radio poll from St. Norbert College came out yesterday. While I’m a bit skeptical of this poll’s history, due to its relatively low response numbers and jumpy numbers in terms of party ID, there are a few tidbits of data to look into.
First of all, Wisconsinites are very upset with the way things are going under the “leadership” of Gov Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP.
“Right direction, Wrong direction?”
39% Approve or Strongly Approve
60% Disapprove or Strongly Disapprove
14% Strongly Approve
40% Strongly Disapprove
I’ll add that those “right track, wrong track” and Walker approval questions were asked before the State Legislature legalized political corruption, and the Assembly voted to politicize the state’s elections oversight and expand the role of big money in elections this week. Both moves have been done with Walker’s tacit approval after Scotty and his campaign staff were investigated (and some of them convicted) for wrongdoing, so I’d guess both these are numbers are, if anything, worse today.
Walker’s failed 10-week soiree into the 2016 presidential race also angered most Wisconsinites in this poll, as evidenced by the following responses. They didn’t like that he ran for president, they felt it hurt the state, and they don’t want him to run again for Governor.
Did presidential run give you a more positive or negative view of Walker?
Was Walker’s presidential run positive or negative for Wisconsin?
Should Walker run for a third term in 2018?
Huh, funny how being exposed by a national media outside of the Wisconsin cocoon did that to Gov Dropout. Now the key is not to relax and allow the paid-off Wisconsin media to let Scotty off the hook for what he did to us.
This poll also had a taste of what these Wisconsinites thought about the candidates that remained the 2016 presidential race. The GOP race was a jumble (Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump all statistically even, and no one above 20%), and the Dem race featured Hillary Clinton with a 47-42 lead over Bernie Sanders with Joe Biden not considered to be in the race (which is the correct assumption after today).
Those numbers are intriguing, but what I found more interesting was looking at the head-to-head matchups that the St. Norbert Poll asked about. Both Dems have leads, and double-digit leads against Trump and Jeb Bush.
But note the differences in the spread between the two Dems.
So Bernie leads against all 3 Republicans by a wider margin than Hillary does. It’s similar to this week’s CNN poll which showed Sanders being statistically even with Clinton’s margin against the potential Republican candidates, and doing better against Trump. So at least early on, the argument of “Hillary is more electable” doesn’t hold water. I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote for Hillary if you think she’s the best candidate, but the argument of "I like Bernie but can’t vote for him because he can’t win a general election" is not true in October 2015.
As mentioned earlier, take this with a grain of salt, as it's a 600-person poll heavily influenced by primary voters. But it certainly seems to indicate there is pushback against the GOP in Wisconsin, in light of the bad antics of Gov Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP. And it also shows a competitive presidential primary race within both parties, with signs that indicate Bernie Sanders is doing better among crossover/Independent voters. Long way to go, but any new bit of data is usually helpful in figuring out the state of play.