Red, white and blue

Wisconsin voters split on Gov. Walker job performance

CREATED Feb 22, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- A new Marquette University poll shows voters are split over Governor Scott Walker's job performance.

The poll surveyed 716 people by phone last Thursday through Sunday.  The law professor behind it says it reveals a lot about Wisconsin voters.

47% approve of Gov. Walker's job performance, while 47% disapprove.

Professor Charles Franklin says the poll show voters paying very close attention to the John Doe investigation. 

"We saw a little bit of a decline in the governor's favorability between January and February," said Franklin.

72% say they had read or heard something about the John Doe investigation.

"No one knows where this investigation is going to go and how it will ultimately shake out, but clearly the public is paying attention and a small majority is thinking of it as something that might be serious," said Franklin.

As for the recall election -- voters told Marquette pollsters they just don't know much about Gov. Walker's potential challengers.  State Senator Kathleen Vinehout recently entered the recall race, along with former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

But it was Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who has said he is seriously considering entering the race.  Barrett had the highest favorability rate, out of potential Gov. Walker challengers.

"I'm not surprised that a majority of the people who know who I am have a positive feeling about me.  I'm happy about that, obviously," said Mayor Barrett.

Meanwhile, Gov. Walker's campaign has issued a statement about the new poll:

In 2010 an overwhelming majority of voters elected Governor Walker to take bold action in addressing the state's long-running budget crisis.  He ran on a promise of closing the $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, laying off pubic employees, or making cuts to essential services.  Governor Walker has kept those promises, and we are confident that because the positive effects of his reforms continue to create more jobs and keep more money in the pockets  of taxpayers, voters will reaffirm the decision they made a year ago.