New Marquette Univ. Law School poll results unveiled

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A new poll says Gov. Scott Walker's favorability rating has dipped in the past month. It also shows former Gov. Tommy Thompson has the best chance of beating Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race. Lastly, it shows President Obama easily leading each of his four Republican rivals in Wisconsin.

The Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday says 46 percent have a favorable opinion of Gov. Walker compared to 48 percent unfavorable. Last month, his favorable rating was 50 percent with 45 percent unfavorable.

One reason might be an ongoing John Doe investigation into several former Walker aides and associates. The poll says 52 percent of respondents aware of the investigation believe it's "really something serious" while 40 percent say it's "just more politics."

Another reason could be the job outlook across the state. The poll shows a negative outlook, with 30 percent of the voters saying there are fewer jobs statewide, while 22 percent said there were more jobs.

The same Marquette University poll says former Gov. Thompson leads Tammy Baldwin, 48 percent to 42 percent.

However, Baldwin polls better than former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, 44 percent to 40 percent, and she's ahead of Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, 45 percent to 37 percent.

One problem for Neumann and Fitzgerald is name recognition. At least half of respondents say they haven't heard enough about either candidate.

Thompson has the highest favorability rating of the four. The poll says 44 percent have a favorable opinion compared to 34 percent unfavorable.

Lastly, the Marquette poll shows President Obama leading former Sen. Rick Santorum, 51 percent to 40 percent, and leading former Gov. Mitt Romney, 53 percent to 38 percent. "Obama has had a pretty good month. He's improved in his favorability ratings here in the state and nationally, his approval rating is up as well," Poll Director Charles Franklin said.

Santorum is the early favorite in Wisconsin's Republican primary April 3. Among those who said they plan to vote, the poll shows him with 34 percent, while Romney gets 18 percent. Another 17 percent say they're undecided.

The poll questioned 716 registered Wisconsin voters from Thursday to Sunday. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. In this latest poll, the majority of voters considered themselves independent.

Poll Director Charles Franklin spoke about the latest results Wednesday. Franklin says Wisconsin seems to be a persuadable state, and says it's a mixed picture when it comes to determining who will come out ahead. "We're not locked into a predetermined outcome across all of the races. We may have a bunch of close elections this year. There are areas where the public is capable of leaning to one side or the other," Franklin said.