Government

Capitol Ideas: Democrats popular in Wisconsin polling; Iowa next?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the July 26, 2017 announcement at the White House in Washington, D.C. about the creation of a Foxconn factory in Wisconsin to build LCD flat screen monitors. With Walker is House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), center, and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, right. (Chris Kleponis/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the July 26, 2017 announcement at the White House in Washington, D.C. about the creation of a Foxconn factory in Wisconsin to build LCD flat screen monitors. With Walker is House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), center, and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, right. (Chris Kleponis/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)

The poll had nothing to do with Iowa, but it had to catch the attention of more than a few Iowans.

Republican candidates for governor and U.S. Senate trailed their Democratic opponents in new polling published last week by NBC News and Marist.

Particularly striking, and of particular interest to Iowa, was the NBC/Marist polling that showed Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker trailing his most likely Democratic challenger by a significant margin.

In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup — Wisconsin’s primary election is Aug. 14 — the poll showed Walker trailing Democrat Tony Evers by a whopping 13 percentage points, 54 percent to 41 percent.

That’s a striking number for Walker, who won his first election in 2010, survived a recall election in 2012 and won re-election in 2014.

Evers, the state’s superintendent of schools, is the leading contender in a packed Democratic primary.

In more bad news for Walker, just 34 percent of those surveyed said Walker should win another term as governor, while 61 percent said someone else should be given a chance to lead the state.

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Every state is different, every race is different, every campaign is different, every candidate is different. Nonetheless, those numbers for Walker certainly had to raise some eyebrows here in Iowa.

The first batch of polling on Iowa’s gubernatorial race — between Republican successor incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds, Democrat Fred Hubbell and Libertarian Jake Porter — will be interesting. Is the enthusiasm for Democratic candidates the same in Iowa as it is in its northeastern neighbor? We shall see.

NBC/Marist polled 906 registered voters in Wisconsin from July 15 to July 19, using live operators on landlines and mobile phone lines. The margin for error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The poll also found Democratic U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan leading their possible Republican challengers by double digits, and the Democratic candidates for governor leading possible Republican opponents in Michigan and Minnesota.

l Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government for Lee Enterprises. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @ErinDMurphy

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