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POLITICS

Poll gives Walker 7-point lead in recall election

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is leading his Democratic challenger Tom Barrett 52 percent to 45 percent in the latest Marquette Law School poll of likely voters ahead of next Tuesday's recall election.

The survey found that Walker's favorability ratings are higher than Barrett's (who is underwater):

Walker holds a 51 percent favorable to 46 percent unfavorable image among voters, with just 3 percent unable to give an opinion. Walker’s job approval rating is similar, with 51 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval. For Barrett, 41 percent have a favorable opinion to 46 percent unfavorable, while a larger 11 percent are unable to give an opinion.

Pollsters also found that perceptions of Walker's handling of jobs have been improving since the release of new jobs data from 2011:

In the latest survey, 38 percent think the state has gained jobs in the last year, while 30 percent say the state has lost jobs, with 29 percent saying jobs are about the same. In the survey two weeks ago, only 20 percent thought the state had gained jobs, while 37 percent said it had lost jobs. Voters also said Walker would be better at creating jobs than Barrett by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin.

Also, Walker's public sector union reforms that triggered the recall process are popular: "Majorities supported increases in public employee contributions to health and retirement benefits, with 75 percent in favor and 22 percent opposed...A smaller majority, 55 percent, said they favored limiting collective bargaining for most public employees, while 41 percent opposed such limits. A subsequent question found a closer division on collective bargaining, with 50 percent wanting to keep the current law on bargaining and 45 percent wishing for a return to the previous law prior to last year."

In other news from the race, check out John McCormack's exchange with Barrett at a press conference, in which he couldn't name any schools that had been hurt by Walker's reforms, despite his rhetoric.

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