Marquette poll: Obama leads all GOP challengers, more rate Walker unfavorably

Marquette poll: Obama leads all GOP challengers, more rate Walker unfavorably

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Feb 22, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 22, 2012

MILWAUKEE - A new poll released by Marquette University says that President Barack Obama would beat all of the major contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in a general election, but Rick Santorum is now the top GOP challenger to Obama in the state.

It also said that Gov. Scott Walker has more people rating him unfavorably than favorably.

The Marquette Law School poll says Mr. Obama currently leads these Republican candidates in their poll:
- Rick Santorum, 51% to 40%
- Mitt Romney, 53% to 38%
- Ron Paul, 52% to 36%
- Newt Gingrich, 56% to 33%

However, among those who said they would vote in Wisconsin's GOP primary, Santorum garnered 34%, while Romney had 18% support and Paul took in 17%.

"Right now, Obama is leading substantially over the Republican alternatives," said Marquette visiting professor and University of Wisconsin professor Charles Franklin on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

"When they have a nominee, I'm sure it will tighten up some."

More rule Gov. Walker unfavorably

When it comes to the Governor's race and a potential recall election, 48% of those who took the survey gave Governor Walker an unfavorable rating, while 46% rated him favorable.

"He's slipped a little bit," said Franklin.

Each potential Democratic candidate for governor in a recall election had the greatest percentage of poll takers saying they could not rate them or had no opinion of them.  As they break down:
- Peter Barca: 12% favorable, 12% unfavorable, 70% unable to rate
- Tom Barrett: 30% favorable, 27% unfavorable, 40% unable to rate
- Kathleen Falk: 22% favorable, 28% unfavorable, 47% saying they didn't know enough to form an opinion
- David Obey: 22% favorable, 19% unfavorable, 55% unable to rate
- Kathleen Vinehout: 9% favorable, 14% unfavorable, 68% no opinion

"The problem for the Democratic candidates is how little known they are around this state," explained Franklin. 

"It's clear that the Democrats need to settle on a candidate and raise their visibility a lot."

Grand majority aware of John Doe investigation

The poll also asked about the current John Doe investigation into Walker's staff members when he was Milwaukee County Executive.

According to the poll results, 72 percent were aware of the investigation.

"I was somewhat surprised at how widespread awareness was of it," admitted Franklin.

"There have been a lot of developments in the last month, including the Governor announcing he would meet with the prosecutor."

52 percent of those who were aware of the investigation called it "really something serious," while 40 percent called it "just more politics."

"There's a sharp partisan divide there.  2/3rds of Republicans said it was just more politics," said Franklin.

In the race for the Senate seat to be vacated by outgoing Democrat Herb Kohl:
- GOP candidate Tommy Thompson leads Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin, 48% to 42%
- Baldwin leads former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, 44% to 40%
- Baldwin leads Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald 45% to 37%.

Participants also chimed in about the iron ore mine proposal in Wisconsin, with 55 percent in favor of the plan and 33 percent opposing it.

Click here to read the complete poll results.