With the election for governor still more than a year away, a new poll shows the race is already close.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker had 47% and Democrat Mary Burke had 45% in a poll of 800 registered voters released Tuesday by Marquette Law School.
That’s within the poll’s margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, making it “essentially a tossup,” said the poll’s director, Charles Franklin.
Among Wisconsin Republican primary voters, Walker led the pack for potential 2016 candidates for president. He came up short in a head-to-head matchup with former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, as did other Republicans.
The results also showed support for the statewide expansion of taxpayer-funded vouchers for private school tuition and, for the first time, a majority favored same-sex marriage.
President Barack Obama scored slightly higher in favorability than he did in a Marquette poll in July. But more people are opposed to the federal health care overhaul, known as Obamacare, than support it.
As for shutting down the federal government to try to block that law? Wisconsinites in the poll didn’t like it.
The telephone poll took place from Oct. 21 to Thursday.
Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive and former state commerce secretary, is the only announced Democrat in the race. Nearly as many voters said they would vote for Burkeover Walker, even though 70% said they did not know enough about her to have an opinion.
The results also were close when Walker was matched with state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), who is also considering a run. She finished third in a four-way Democratic primary to oppose Walker in his recall election last year. In the poll, Walker had 47% to Vinehout’s 44%. Among those polled, 79% said they didn’t know enough about the legislator to rate her.
Obviously it’s really early, so putting too much stock in this one poll would be foolish, but the results are surprising considering 70% of those polled said they did not know enough about Democratic candidate Mary Burke to have an opinion.
That certainly leaves some room for improvement for Mary Burke among those voters who don’t yet know enough about her, but that’s why it’s so vitally important (in my uninformed opinion) that she actually start articulating her policy positions.