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Tipsheet

New Wisconsin Poll: Walker Leads...by 12

This data set is from a Republican-aligned polling firm, but still.  Whoa:
 

Poll type:: Automated Date: 5/23/2012 - Participants: 1,409 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.61%

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Point: The Democrat only bests New Hitler by three points among public union households?  C'mon. Counterpoint: The sample size is more than legit for a state-level poll, and the MOE is rather low...so is gut-level incredulity enough to wave these results off?  In any case, what lessons might we derive these numbers?  First off, it's unquestionably an outlier, so don't pop the cork just yet.  Most other polls peg Walker's lead at 5 or 6 points, although another survey released this week shows Walker's advantage swelling to eight.  Plus, the miniscule percentage of undecided voters tracks closely with other polling, so that also checks out.  Though I'm extremely dubious that Walker is on track to hammer Barrett by 12 points (double his 2010 victory margin), I'm willing to buy that his lead could be creeping into commanding territory.  He's got all the momentum:  Not only is Barrett dealing with the major headache of explaining allegedly gamed violent crime statistics in Milwaukee, Walker's been buoyed with favorable news.  As we reported last week, official jobs figures now show that the state has added 33,000 net jobs since Walker took office last year, and a new study confirms that Walker's controversial reforms have saved Wisconsin taxpayers $1 Billion:
 

Act 10, which curbed collective bargaining for most unionized public employees, in the whole has saved taxpayers more than $1 billion, according to The Economic Impacts of the Wisconsin Budget Repair Act. The study is slated for release this week by Beacon Hill Institute, a prominent free market think tank. What the analysis found is that without the law, which in part requires covered public employees to contribute more to their benefits and holds wage increases to the rate of inflation, Badger State governments would have been forced to raise taxes or make deep job cuts to meet budget expenses.

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Now is not the time for Wisconsin conservatives to rest on their laurels, but this information could very well buttress the popularity of Walker's reform package -- which is what sparked recall mania in the first place, in case you'd forgotten.  (Democrats seem to be trying to make this election about everything but collective bargaining "rights," which is telling in and of itself).  A recent Marquette Law School poll shows that a majority of state residents support the substance of Walker's changes, and independent voters -- some of whom comprise the tiny contingent of undecided voters -- favor Act 10's policy provisions by a resounding 15 points.  Strike a resounding blow for responsible governance and finish this, Badgerites. 

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