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Wisconsin poll signals political shift

November 16, 2011 - Jim Anderson
The political mood in Wisconsin has changed from a year ago, results of a new poll show.

Only 23 percent say things in the country are going in the right direction, down from 37 percent a year ago in the same poll — the St. Norbert College/Wisconsin Public Radio Wisconsin Survey.

Yet, President Obama’s approval rating stands at 53 percent, up from 42 percent a year ago.

Go figure. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, so maybe Obama’s “surge” in popularity is a bit of a fluke.

Or maybe not.

In November 2011, Wisconsin elected a Republican governor, Scott Walker, who now faces a recall.

If that election were held today, according to the St. Norbert/WPR poll, 58 percent would vote to remove Walker from office. That’s a strong margin of rejection — a recall, after all, is a radical measure.

Meanwhile, 51 percent say Obama deserves to be re-elected and 43 percent say he does not. (Again, it’s a wide gap — 58 percent say Walker should be recalled but only 43 percent say Obama shouldn’t be re-elected.)

Polls change. Attitudes change. For the moment, at least, Obama is up a bit in Wisconsin and Republicans are down.

Among the Republican presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is drawing the most Wisconsin support. Yet, statewide, his favorable rating is just 37 percent while his unfavorable rating is 42 percent.

An email I received today from the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama (not to worry, I’m on the Obama for America list as well) called attention to the Wisconsin poll — specifically the 58 percent support for recalling Walker.

“Let us show the world that Scott Walker's policies of fiscal responsibility and economic opportunity through growth in the private sector represent the path forward for America, and in doing so let us reject Barack Obama's push for quasi-socialist policies and big government liberalism,” the fundraising email says.

Politics has a lot to do with messaging.

Today, in Wisconsin, Obama’s message is apparently holding up better than Walker’s.



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