Whether the race for governor is as close as the recent poll from Rasmussen Reports indicates, one thing is clear: Wisconsin voters do not want Gov. Scott Walker to run for president.
For starters, only 22 percent of those polled said they would like to see Walker make a bid for the White House in 2016. Sixty-one percent of the likely voters polled said he should not interrupt a potential second term with a presidential campaign.
Wisconsinites would warm to Walker’s presidential aspirations if he won the Republican nomination for president, but even then only 41 percent say they would vote for him if he were the Republican candidate. 53 percent say they would not support him for president.
At the very least, the responses suggest that Walker would be wise to avoid trips to Iowa if he wants a second term as governor. And the moves Walker has made to raise his national profile create a vulnerability that Democrats can attack.
Not only can they argue that voters should not reelect a man uncommitted to serving out a full second term, they can also highlight the consequences of his leaving the governorship to Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, the target of ridicule in emails from Walker's own staff recently made public.
Responses to other questions on the Rasmussen survey indicated that voters favor Walker over Burke on government spending and taxes but trust him less on social issues and ethics. However, on no issue are the results lopsided, underscoring the extent to which the state is divided by party and ideology.
Asked which candidates they trust to deal with government spending, likely voters chose Walker over Burke, 46-38. On taxes he leads 45-41.
On social issues, Burke leads 45-40, and she is ahead on the issue of “ethics and corruption,” 44-39.
So far, it is hard to determine the extent to which public opinion has been affected by the release of the 28,000 pages of emails from the criminal investigation that led to convictions for several of Walker’s former aides.
Walker’s numbers certainly have not taken the nose dive that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s did in the wake of the ongoing George Washington bridge scandal and the Burke campaign still seems disinterested in making ethics a major focus of its case against Walker.