|All three polls out this week show Walker leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) by between 5 percent and 9 percent. Perhaps more illustrative, though, are the candidate’s personal favorability and approval numbers.|
Despite all the attempts by Democrats and organized labor to turn him into the bogeyman, Walker’s job approval and favorable rating both remain in positive territory, at right around 50 percent.
Barrett, meanwhile, has no such luxury. The latest Marquette University Law School poll of this race showed his favorable rating at just 37 percent, compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably.
As of late March, the same pollster showed Barrett, the 2010 Democratic nominee against Walker, was viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by just 27 percent.
That’s a massive shift, with his unfavorable rating jumping 18 points in just seven weeks. It reflects both the difficult primary that he just emerged from (in which labor backed his opponent) and Republicans’ sustained early effort to define him.
The question from here is whether he can recover in the coming weeks.
In politics, though, it’s much easier to chop down your opponent than recover your own good name, so we would expect and all-hands-on-deck effort on behalf of Democrats to tear down Walker.
But there are two problems with that. One is that there has been a concerted effort to do just that for about two straight years now, and Walker still isn’t unpopular.
And secondly, Democrats may not have the money to make it happen. As the Plum Line’s Greg Sargent reported this week, top Wisconsin Democrats are fuming that the national party hasn’t done more to help them.
The Democratic National Committee is now pushing back on that idea, pointing to all the things it has done to help defeat Walker.
Regardless of who’s right, these kinds of fights don’t happen on the winning side of the ledger. And they should be seen as further evidence that the Wisconsin recall is getting away from Democrats.