High on the list of states where the GOP needs to rebuild its credibility and has a realistic chance to do so is Wisconsin, whose two-term Democratic Governor, Jim Doyle, is seeking a third term in 2010 (no Democrat has ever won three terms as Governor of Wisconsin). The state of Tommy Thompson's Governorship was part of the great ferment of GOP reform in the Upper Midwest in the 1990s, and despite Democratic sweeps of the state in the past decade, many statewide races have been very close (George W. Bush lost Wisconsin by a razor-thin margin in 2004). If the climate has turned against the Democrats by 2010, this is a state that should be a prime target. For his part, Doyle pushed for billions in new taxes in 2007 after running on a no-new-taxes campaign in 2006, and now faces huge budget deficits. CQ reports that the polls are showing his weakness:
Wisconsin Gov. James E. Doyle is looking vulnerable as he seeks to win a third term in 2010, according to a new Public Policy Polling poll. The PPP poll, conducted June 9 and 10, found that just 34 percent of voters approved of Doyle's job performance, while 60 percent disapproved.
That echoes a recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll that also recorded Doyle's favorability rating at an all-time low.
Read the whole thing; CQ notes that the PPP poll has Doyle trailing his GOP opponents, while the Kos poll unsurprisingly has him leading, but that any poll shows his opponents to be very unknown this far out, leaving much of the race to be determined by who the GOP nominates, how much money and activism they generate, how quickly the party coalesces behind a candidate (in past years, a late primary has left GOP challengers dead and buried before there was even a nominee) and how Doyle succeedes in defining his opponent to the electorate.