A poll released by WeAskAmerica on Thursday reveals that Scott Walker, the incumbent Republican Governor of Wisconsin, trails Democratic challenger Mary Burke by four points. Walker was already sweating when polls last month showed the race in a dead heat. However, in the aftermath of the release of some devastating emails showing Walker coordinated with Koch-funded SuperPACs to raise campaign funds, support for the supposed ‘rising star’ of the GOP has quickly started to erode.
Per the poll, Burke has 48% support compared to Walker’s 44%. The governor is struggling mightily with female voters at this point as the gender gap is at 15%, with 54% supporting Burke compared to only 39% for Walker. The gap is nearly fatal considering that Walker only enjoys a six-point advantage with men. With that knowledge, it makes sense that Republicans quickly pounced on comments from DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she said that the governor “has given women the back of his hand.” Walker’s supporters tried to use Schultz’s comments against Burke by claiming Schultz was making an inappropriate comparison to domestic violence.
However, try as he might, Walker isn’t going to make many inroads with women based solely on his policy positions and statements since he was first elected in 2010. His only hope is that he can at the very least shrink the gap just enough while simultaneously energizing conservatives to come out in droves this November. At the same time, he is also going to try to appeal to independent voters. Now, he and Burke are tied with independents at 44% a piece, with 9% undecided. Likely, Walker will try to win over more independents by tying Burke to President Obama. Currently, Obama only has a 35% approval rating with Wisconsin independents.
Beyond the emails indicating illegal campaign fund coordination, Walker also has to deal with his failed promise to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin during his first term. With just two months until the election, he is well behind that goal as Wisconsin has only seen 103,000 new jobs added since Walker took office. Considering the governor’s efforts to destroy public unions and gut collective bargaining for workers, his failure to deliver on this promise is not going to sit well with average voters. If you are going to wage war on the middle-class, you better make sure you at least deliver on your other pledges.
Over the past year or so, Walker has seen his name bandied about as a potential Presidential candidate in 2016 and beyond. He probably needs to focus on what’s going on in the here and now. At this point, he is in real danger of getting kicked out of the Governor’s Mansion at the end of this year.