In February, Public Policy Polling found Wisconsin governor Scott Walker trailing Milwaukee's Democratic mayor Tom Barrett by 3 points (46 percent to 49 percent). But a new PPP poll conducted for the liberal website Daily Kos shows that Walker has retaken the lead:
Tom Barrett (D): 45 (49)
Scott Walker (R-inc): 50 (46)
Hari Trivedi (I): 2
Undecided: 3 (3)
The PPP poll shows that Barrett is the frontrunner in the Democratic primary: He leads Dane county executive Kathleen Falk 38 percent to 24 percent. Walker now leads Falk 50 percent to 43 percent. In February, Walker trailed Falk 47 percent to 48 percent, according to PPP.
What explains the change since February? PPP's Tom Jensen tells Daily Kos:
The biggest change is probably that this was our first time using a likely voter screen, We found with almost all of the recall elections last summer that the electorate just wasn't as Democratic as 2008, even if people were at least more excited about the recalls than they were about the 2010 elections. Gov. Scott Walker gains a few points as a result of that.
The other thing is that independents have flipped from our last poll, from supporting Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett by 12 to going for Walker by three. We've seen independents go back and forth on Walker several times over the last year, though I'm not certain what causes that.
The new poll also found that 51 percent of voters approve of Walker's job performance, while 48 percent disapprove. As for the Democrats, PPP found that a majority of voters have an unfavorable view of Kathleen Falk (52 percent to 36 percent), and a plurality of voters have an unfavorable view of Barrett (45 percent to 41 percent).