Latest poll shows race for governor getting tight

MADISON (WITI) -- Public Policy Polling's newest Wisconsin poll finds a close race, with Scott Walker leading his Democratic challenger Mary Burke 48/45.

Walker's 48% is exactly the same as what we had in our September poll of the state, while Burke's seen a slight uptick in her support from 42% on our previous poll.

Burke's increased support is likely a function of her name recognition increasing significantly over the last seven months. In September only 39% of voters had an opinion about her but that has spiked to 71% with voters pretty evenly split on her- 36% rate her favorably, 35% unfavorably. Burke's been able to consolidate Democratic support as she's become better known with 86% of her party base behind her now compared to 75% on the poll in the fall.

Nevertheless Walker has shown that he will be tough to beat. 50% of voters approve of him to 47% who disapprove and he has the Republican base on complete lockdown with 93% supporting him to only 4% who are for Burke. That puts Burke in a position where she would have to win independents by a good margin to overtake Walker and while she does have a narrow 46/44 advantage with them on this poll that's not enough.

“This poll pretty much sums up the Wisconsin Governor’s races over the last four years,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “It’s always close, but Scott Walker always has the upper hand.”

Looking forward to the 2016 Senate election, Democrats at least for now are pretty well positioned to put Ron Johnson out of office after just one term. Johnson has only a 34% approval rating to 36% of voters who disapprove of him, and even after more than 3 years in the Senate 30% don't know enough about him to have formed an opinion.

Russ Feingold would lead Johnson 47/41 in a hypothetical rematch of their 2010 contest, including a double digit lead with independents at 47/34. Despite his loss last time around, Feingold remains largely popular in the state with 46% of voters rating him favorably to 36% who have an unfavorable opinion.

PPP surveyed 1,144 registered voters from April 17th to 20th. The margin of error for the overall survey is +/- 2.9%. 80% of interviews for the poll were conducted over the phone with 20% interviewed over the internet to reach respondents who don’t have landline telephones.