Michael Barone: Gov. Scott Walker’s courage is rewarded in the polls
Michael Barone writes about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s healthy approval numbers. Walker may soon face a recall effort led by Democrats, but the Republican looks reasonably strong.
Winning in 2010 and soon after implementing major government union reforms, the conservative Walker has been a constant recipient of attacks by teachers unions and other powerful anti-taxpayer groups. Given that the mainstream media died years ago basically everwhere, I can’t imagine that the state’s local media has been kind to him.
All things considered, Scott Walker has a rather healthy approval rating of 47%, according to an Oct. 26 poll by the polling firm PPP, a Democratic company. The poll also tested the results of several potential Democratic challengers.
Wisconsin last voted for a Republican in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won 49 out of 50 states, though George W. Bush did come close. In 2008, Barack Obama easily carried the state with 56% of the vote.
Obama barely performs better than Scott Walker in the state. A July 2011 poll by the University of Wisconsin-Madison placed Obama’s approval at 50%. In August, Gallup also showed Obama at a 50% approval rating in Wisconsin.
Comparing Wisconsin to the heavily Republican Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback only had a 51% approval rating in a July SurveyUSA poll; the same poll found President Obama with a 36% approval rating. John McCain won 57% of the Kansas vote in November 2008. And this so-so approval rating is with Brownback fighting none of the battles fought by Walker. The pro-life bills signed by Brownback are hardly controversial: few people object to requirements for clean abortions clinics, and bans on abortions on 22-week-old, unborn babies who can survive outside the womb. And the government-funded arts community that Brownback offended by reforming the state arts authority, well, that cannot be compared to the well-funded and vengeful National Education Association that Wisconsin Gov. Walker stood up to.
At The Washington Examiner, Michael Barone writes that PPP’s “latest findings show a trend over the year toward Republican Governor Scott Walker and against the Democrats who attempted, unsuccessfully, to elect a pliant state Supreme Court justice and to recall enough state senators to overturn the Republican majority in that chamber.”
Barone thinks, “It’s looking like Walker and Wisconsin Republicans are going to win their fight, though the margins have been close.”
This can serve as reassurance to elected officials nation-wide that they can be reformers for the public good, and still remain electable.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).