Last week, Rasmussen released a poll that had Mitt Romney up by 13 points on Rick Santorum, 46%-33%, a full reversal of the prior month’s polls from both Public Policy Polling and Marquette Law School. Today, the Marquette Law School followed suit with a poll taken of 707 registered voters between March 22 and March 25 having Romney up on Santorum 39%-31%. Ron Paul was third with 11% and Newt Gingrich brought up the rear with 6%.
On the ideological side, among the 385 who said they planned on voting in the Republican primary, Romney received a plurality among those who described themselves as “very conservative” (43%-31%), “conservative” (41%-34%) and “moderate” (42%-27%). While Santorum did have a lead among “liberals”, it has to be noted that it was by a 8-7 margin and thus not statistically reliable.
On the political side, I first feel compelled to note that Wisconsin is a wide-open primary state where only the voter knows in which primary he or she votes. With that said, it does not really matter that those who self-identify as Republicans or as leaning toward Republicans were only 64% of those who say they will vote in the Republican primary, while 26% self-identified as Democrats or as leaning toward Democrats. Romney led all three of the major categories: 42%-33% among Republicans, 34%-29% among Democrats, and 37%-17% among “independents”.
Despite the fact that Wisconsin is a winner-take-all state, the majority of the 42 delegates, 24 in all, are awarded 3 at a time to the winner of each of the 8 Congressional districts. Unlike Rasmussen, the Marquette Law School poll did break down the results by media market, making a rough estimation of this possible. Romney carried the city of Milwaukee (which is essentially the 4th Congressional district), the rest of the Milwaukee media market (the heart of the 1st and 5th Congressional districts, and a significant part of the 6th) and the Madison media market (which dominates the 2nd Congressional district, and also reaches into small parts of the 1st, 5th and 6th) by double-digits, strongly suggesting he would get the 3 delegates from each of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Congressional districts. However, his lead in the Green Bay/Appleton market (the heart of the 8th Congressional district, and the other significant part of the 6th) was razor-thin at 38%-37%. Santorum led in the other media markets 31%-25%, which would suggest he would get the 3 delegates from the 7th Congressional district.
The Marquette Law School also polled the Presidential general election matchups, with a partisan split of 48% D/42% R with leaners, and 36% D/27% R without. This was, once again, a rather high Democrat split, and the Presidential results reflected that. Barack Obama beat Romney 48%-43%, and got a majority against the other candidates. Worse, the limited “likely voter” approximation, a sum of those who say they were “absolutely certain” to vote in November and those who were “very likely” to vote in November, was even more friendly to the Democrats on the strength of the “with-leaners” 49%-42% advantage Dems had on those “absolutely certain” to vote in November.
The gubernatorial recall
There are currently three announced Democrat candidates in the recall against Governor Scott Walker – former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, state Senator Kathleen Vinehout and Secretary of State Doug La Follette, for the expected primary to be held on May 8 (assuming at least two of them file a sufficient number of nomination signatures between the end of this week and April 10; if not, then that day becomes the recall general election). In addition, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett has been widely rumored to be interested in trying to get revenge for his 2010 loss to Walker.
Much like the Republican Presidential primary, there is no real lock on the process by the Democrats. Only 65% of those who planned on voting in the gubernatorial primary were self-identified Democrat/Democrat leaners, while 25% were self-identified Republicans/Republican leaners. Unlike the Republican Presidential primary, however, this matters somewhat as Barrett beat Falk in a 4-way race 42%-30% among Democrats and 37%-28% among “independents”, but lost to her 27%-16% among Republicans. Overall, Barrett beat Falk 37%-29%.
If, however, Barrett doesn’t run, Falk would clean up, as she received 54% in the three-way race question.
In the general election against Walker, slated for June 5 (unless there is no primary), not even the aforementioned heavy partisan split favoring the Democrats helped them in this poll. Walker beat Barrett 47%-45%, Falk 49%-45%, La Follette 49%-42% and Vinehout 49%-41%. Of note, Walker has both a better job-approval rating than Obama (50%-47% versus 48%-47%) and a positive personal favorability rating (50%-45%, a flip from last month’s widely-touted-by-the-media 46%-48%).