New poll shows Walker with 15-point advantage over Mary Burke

MADISON (WITI) -- A new statewide poll is out in the governor's race -- and it shows Gov. Scott Walker widening his lead over Democratic challenger Mary Burke. However, the candidates are arguing over other numbers.

The poll, from Wisconsin Public Radio and St. Norbert College shows Gov. Walker with a 15-point advantage in the race for governor -- nearly twice the lead he had in the more reliable Marquette University Law School Poll released two weeks ago.

The candidates themselves say they expect a close race in the fall, and have dismissed polls -- instead arguing over economic numbers.

Burke is making the case that Wisconsin's rebound from the recession, in both jobs and earnings, lags the nation.

In one sense that's true. Wisconsin ranks 35th in job creation.

In her formal jobs plan, Burke says "Wisconsin wages are declining at double the rate of other states."

"The chart that is in the plan shows that Wisconsin wages lag the nation by $4,000," Burke said.

However, that data comes from 2012.

More recent labor statistics show Wisconsin's wage growth was actually fifth best in the country.

"The one statistic that was used in terms of shrinking wages indicated that at one period of time we were shrinking at twice the national rate, but in fact when we look over the long-term, Wisconsin wages have not kept pace and we are $4,000 behind," Burke said.

Burke's claim was rated as a "pants on fire lie" by independent fact checkers at PolitiFact.

"I think it shows that those in the opposition will do and say anything regardless of the facts. When every major independent fact checker said she's wrong, it's an outright lie. I think you see it again with this," Gov. Walker said.

Gov. Walker says he's running on his record of reforms.

"We're going to stand by the facts. We're going to lay out a positive optimistic view going forward, and hopefully people will see through the smoke and mirrors out there, and judge us based on the facts and not just attacks and attack ads," Gov. Walker said.

Burke is the only declared Democrat in the governor's race. Gov. Walker says he'll officially announce his re-election bid this spring.