Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker addresses members of the media during a stop at the Madison GOP field office in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
Photo by John Hart/AP

Wisconsin governor’s race a ‘dead heat’


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has not gained any ground against Democratic challenger Mary Burke, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Marquette Law School poll found that Burke and Walker are effectively tied, with Burke ahead 47%-46% among likely voters. Walker holds a 46%-45% lead with registered voters.

Polling done in May found Burke and Walker tied at 46-46, although Walker held a three-point edge with likely voters.

While the race has been close since Burke – who served as a member of former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s cabinet and a Trek bicycle executive – announced her run in October, things have tightened since the spring and are unlikely to move much before the election. Walker has been a polarizing figure since his 2011 bill that dismantled public sector unions in Wisconsin, which led voters to attempt a recall election in 2012.

Charles Franklin, the poll’s director, told the Wisconsin State Journal Wednesday, “I think this makes it clear the race really has tightened to a dead heat.”

Burke and Walker have been blanketing Wisconsin’s airwaves with ads, many of them focusing on the state’s lackluster jobs numbers over the past several years. After Walker’s campaign ran an ad attacking Trek, a company run by the Burke family, for outsourcing jobs, current Trek President John Burke took out full page ads in papers in Milwaukee and Madison in response to what it called “an inaccurate political ad.”

The Marquette poll also confirmed that the partisan split that widened after Walker’s anti-union efforts has not closed. Ninety-three percent of Republicans support Walker, and 88% of Democrats support Burke, according to the new data. Independents are also evenly divided, with 45% for Walker and 44% for Burke.

That split was also clear in reactions to the secret “John Doe” investigation into alleged illegal coordination between Walker’s 2012 recall campaign and conservative interest groups. While documents from the investigation were recently released as part of ongoing legal wrangling over the investigation, 54% of voters in Wisconsin called the proceedings “just more politics,” while only 42% say it is “really something serious.” The last time Marquette asked about the John Doe investigations, 45% called it serious and 46% called it politics.

The margin of error in the poll is 2.5 percentage points among registered voters and 4.3 among likely voters.