It is looking very good for Scott Walker in Wisconsin. From the WaPo:
All three polls out this week show Walker leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) by between 5 percent and 9 percent. Perhaps more illustrative, though, are the candidate's personal favorability and approval numbers.
Despite all the attempts by Democrats and organized labor to turn him into the bogeyman, Walker's job approval and favorable rating both remain in positive territory, at right around 50 percent.
Barrett, meanwhile, has no such luxury. The latest Marquette University Law School poll of this race showed his favorable rating at just 37 percent, compared to 45 percent who view him unfavorably.
As of late March, the same pollster showed Barrett, the 2010 Democratic nominee against Walker, was viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by just 27 percent.
That's a massive shift, with his unfavorable rating jumping 18 points in just seven weeks. It reflects both the difficult primary that he just emerged from (in which labor backed his opponent) and Republicans' sustained early effort to define him.
Stephen Hayes at The Weekly Standard thinks that Walker is riding high because he has been doing a good job.
By virtually every objective measure, Walker has been an extraordinarily successful governor. In just 16 months, the state has erased a $3.6 billion budget deficit, and according to figures released this month by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, it will have a $154.5 million surplus on June 30, 2013. Property taxes, which had risen by more than 40 percent since 1998, are down for the first time in years.
While that may be an essential ingredient in his survival, it is probably not the primary cause. If Walker wins, it will be for two reasons. One is that his coalition turned out to be stronger and larger than the coalition assembled against him. Passions are fierce on both sides. Hayes describes how an argument that began over the recall ended with a woman (anti-Walker) running over her husband (pro-Walker). Unfortunately for Tom Barrett, the driver seems to be in the minority.
The other reason Walker is likely to survive is that there is no convincing reason for the recall election in the first place. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has weighed in.
We see no reason to remove Walker from office. We recommend him in the June 5 recall election.
Walker's rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was prompted by one issue: Walker's tough stance with the state's public-employee unions. It's inconceivable that the recall election would be occurring absent that. And a disagreement over a single policy is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor.
Well, yes. Eighteen million dollars is a lot to spend on an election that turned out to be a repeat of one held two years ago.
The recall election was a bad mistake. Instead of punishing Walker for his anti-union policies and striking fear into the hearts of Republican governors across the land, as intended, it seems like to stand as endorsement of those policies and proof that a governor can stand up to public unions and live to tell the tale.
It may be a bit worse than that for Democrats. When the DNC decided not to invest heavily in the recall, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee decided to step in. That, however, means less money available for Democratic candidates this November.
Just right now, Scott Walker's courage seems to be paying off.