Of the registered voters who responded, 47 percent support Walker while 41 percent prefer Burke.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker leads Democratic challenger Mary Burke, in the first poll of this election year. The Marquette Law School poll shows a six point difference.
Burke announced her candidacy in October. Since then, she’s been traveling the state, holding private gatherings to stir support.
Professor Charles Franklin directs the Marquette poll. He doubts, at this point, that another Democrat will challenge Burke.
“It probably means that we see Mary Burke and Scott Walker spend the entire year completely focused on their races against each other,” Franklin says.
According to Franklin’s poll, Burke has a lot of work to do, when it comes to introducing herself to voters. 70 percent of the respondents stated that they haven’t heard enough about her to form an opinion. UW-Stevens Point Political Scientist Dennis Riley says Burke needs to let people know what she represents.
“She’s got to get out there and get known and get known for at least one or two issues that she’s willing to talk about and say where she’d be different from the governor,” Riley says.
Riley predicts that Burke, for the most part, will run a positive campaign, focused on her positions. As for the incumbent, Governor Walker is expected to formally announce his re-election bid this spring. Riley believes the Walker campaign will highlight his record.
“He’ll probably stay away from the job creation stuff because the 250,000 jobs he promised aren’t going to be here, but he will talk about jobs. He’ll talk about tax cuts and how that all came about because of Act 10 and the courage he showed,” Riley says.
While Riley thinks the race will heat up in late summer, Tim Dale expects to see campaign ads this spring – particularly on Mary Burke’s behalf. Dale is a political science professor at UW-La Crosse.
“One of the advantages Gov. Walker has right now is that as a sitting governor and the incumbent, he makes public appearances as governor, he gives his State of the State address and these are all effectively advertisements for the Walker administration, and so Burke is fighting an uphill battle and that’s why we might see more advertising early,” Dale says.
Dale predicts that, in addition to the candidates’ ads, special interests will bombard Wisconsin’s airwaves. Walker has been traveling across the country raising money from conservative groups. Burke recently received the endorsement from the deep-pocketed Emily’s List. It helps elect pro-choice Democratic women.