By Ruth Conniff on May 21, 2014

Bad news for Scott Walker: the latest Marquette University Law School poll shows the divisive Wisconsin governor in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Mary Burke, 46 to 46. 

That result marks a "significant tightening of the race," according to poll director Charles Franklin.

In the last Marquette poll, in March, Walker led 48 to 41.

This is the third poll to show the Wisconsin governor's race tied, after months in which Burke lagged Walker by about the same 7 percent margin by which Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who ran against Walker in the 2012 recall election, ultimately lost that race.

The Marquette poll has particularly strong credibility because it correctly predicted the outcome of the recall.

Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive who led Wisconsin's Commerce Department under Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and who serves on the Madison school board, is still introducing herself to voters around the state. 

The poll reflected voters' unfamiliarity with her, as well as the importance of voter turnout in the outcome of the fall election.

While the race is now tied among all voters, Walker still leads among likely voters. Those who rated themselves most enthusiastic about voting favored Walker 50 to 45. 

47 percent of respondents gave Walker a favorable rating, versus 48 percent unfavorable. As for Burke, 51 percent said they did not know enough about her to form an opinion.

Her favorability rating was 27 percent, with 22 percent unfavorable. In the March poll, her unfavorable numbers topped her favorable ones.

Possible reasons for the change in public opinion include Wisconsin's lackluster economic performance. Despite Walker's pledge to create 250,000 new jobs, the state continues to lag most Midwestern states when it comes to creating private-sector jobs, including Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Iowa.

In one bit of particularly bad news for Walker, most people said they don’t think he cares about people like them. When asked if the phrase “cares about people like you” describes Walker, 52 percent said it did not, and only 44 percent said it did. For Mary Burke, by contrast, more of those polled, 39 percent, thought she cared about people like them than those who didn’t (29 percent).

If voters in the recall election felt that Walker deserved a chance to serve out his term, the news now reflects that he has failed to make good on his central promise to create jobs.

The most recent quarterly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked the state thirty-fifth out of fifty states for job creation, creating jobs at about half the pace, on average, of the rest of the nation over the last twelve months.

Burke has also come out in favor of a popular minimum-wage increase, which Walker opposes. 

And she appears to be the first gubernatorial candidate in the nation to back a plan to combat student debt, by allowing student borrowers to refinance their college loans the same way homeowners refinance their mortgages, at lower interest rates. 

Burke put state Democrats' popular measure to refinance student debt in her jobs plan, pointing out the toll college loan debt takes on Wisconsin's economy and on its struggling middle class.

This issue resonates strongly with Wisconsin's 800,000 student debtors, who rank debt relief among their top political concerns. And they receive a monthly reminder of the issue, Scot Ross, director of the advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, points out. Student debtors could become "the most powerful voting bloc in the state," Ross predicts.

Whether or not they decide to vote may determine the outcome of this very close governor's race.

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Comments

Walker is a devious little worm who is in the pocket of the Koch brothers.Hes all about tax breaks for large corporations,lowering pollution standards,and ruining public education.Hes a chronic liar.
Scott Walker can say good bye to his career of ruining and destroying the Wisconsin way of life for his own personal gain. When you are an American politician and you have had numerous investigations on you for everything from fraud to illegal emails, to killing unions. It just goes to show that the people of Wisconsin are getting smarter, They voted for this tool not once but twice.. now that they have buyers remorse and they have learned that voting for a moron gets them nothing. I was saying in the past when walker won his recall event that the people of Wisconsin deserve what they get for being idiots. But now I know they were bamboozled in to thinking this clown was a stand up guy who's only goal was to help the very people who voted for him. K now they know this loser would sell his soul for a shiny nickel . scumbags one and all... republicans are just plain and simply greedy disgusting maggots with NO souls, morals, ethics or rational thought
Thank you Brian... it's great to know that not all of Wisconsinites can be fooled! ☺
securely in the back pocket of the powerful Koch brothers - will never forget him saying "drop the bomb" - Scott Free in 2014!!!!!!

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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