Scott Walker’s Approval Rating Takes A Hit In Wake Of Protests

Rasmussen is out with a poll showing that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has apparently suffered politically in the wake of the union protests in Madison over the past several weeks:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won his job last November with 52% of the vote, but his popularity has slipped since then.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Wisconsin Voters finds that just 34% Strongly Approve of the job he is doing, while 48% Strongly Disapprove. Overall, including those who somewhat approve or disapprove, the new Republican governor earns positive reviews from 43% and negative reviews from 57% of voters statewide.

In addition to the usual partisan and demographic breakdowns, it’s interesting to note that Walker, now engaged in a budget battle with unionized state workers, receives a total approval rating of 46% from households with private sector union members. However, among households with a public sector union member, only 19% offer their approval. Among all other households in the state, opinion is nearly evenly divided—49% favorable and 51% unfavorable.

It’s also interesting to note that among households with children in the public school system, only 32% approve of the governor’s performance. Sixty-seven percent (67%) disapprove, including 54% who Strongly Disapprove.

This may be partly due to the fact that 77% of Wisconsin voters have a favorable opinion of the state’s public school teachers. However, only 50% have a favorable opinion of the teachers’ union.

And this is from Rasmussen, which is typically biased toward Republicans in its sampling.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tlaloc says:

    Yeah I think the right chose the wrong battleground to attack unions.

  2. sam says:

    Waiting for Steve Bainbridge to weigh in and tell us that this is an illusion.

  3. anjin-san says:

    The right is working on the assumption that everybody hates public school teachers as much as they do, which is incorrect. They will run into the same problem when they go after social security.

  4. wr says:

    And they’ll run into an even bigger problem when they go after cops and firefighters — who have to be their next target. Doesn’t matter if they love them some law and order. These are the guys with the big pensions, and if you want to wipe out the middle class, this is the next stop.

    Because the Kochs of the world can hire their own people who won’t waste their time protecting the little folks…

  5. Spc Lee says:

    Job approval rating? At least he is doing a job someone can or can’t approve of unlike certain Democratic senators which shall not be named.

  6. Gulliver says:

    The right is working on the assumption that everybody hates public school teachers as much as they do, which is incorrect.

    What a silly statement. The unions and their unsustainable demands upon the public tax base are the issue. Period. Spin,spin, spin.

    Nobody hates teachers, they simply realize that in very tough economic times you shouldn’t get a golden ride on the taxpayers dime because, A) there should be some reasonable and quantifiable standard of performance that must be met to earn your pay – like everyone in the private sector does, and B) you don’t somehow inherently deserve to make more money in the public sector than you do in the private sector.

    The left in Wisconsin has threatened to blow up a bomb, threatened Walker and the Republicans with all manner of physical harm, displayed extremely offensive signs and slogans, and all you folks on the left refuse to talk about that, don’t you? Instead let’s focus on demonizing the only folks in the room who actually have the balls to address the coming train wreck by labeling their actions as “hate.” So very, very lame…

  7. wr says:

    Shorter Gulliver — No one hates teachers. We just think they should live in poverty while they teach our children. They should have no stake in determining their own future. Anyone who says differently is trying to destroy the world. Now let’s have more tax cuts for the rich.

  8. Smooth Jazz says:

    “And this is from Rasmussen, which is typically biased toward Republicans in its sampling.”

    Terrific. Thanks for hiving up the typical left wing meme that Rasmussen is a Repub outfit. Too bad you never do the same with DailyKOS/PPP Polls – ie NEVER pointing to your readers that PPP is a left wing polling outfit. Looks like you’e still doing a terrific job carrying the Dems water these days. That Obama tingle must have made it from your leg to your head by now. Too bad he is crashing in the Daily tracking polls as people see that is in over in head as gas prices rise because of Libya, etc.

  9. Tano says:

    PPP is not a left wing outfit. That they sell their polls to a left wing site is not evidence of any bias on their part. You have to go a bit deeper than cheap, baseless accusations like that. In a recent analysis, PPP polls were actually found to lean ever-so-slightly in the pro-GOP direction, relative to the actual outcome of elections that they had polled. (see link below)

    Rasmussen, on the other hand, is proudly and explicitly a rightwing site. Scott Rasmussen makes no attempt to hide his ideological position – in fact he rents himself out as a speaker on rightiwing topics. You needn’t read more than a page of his writing on any topic to see that he sees himself as a soldier in the army of the right.

    And this shows up in his polling through is bizarre and unprofessional methodology. There are many technical problems with his polling (see link below), but the biggest one is his sampling strategy. He explicitly chooses to a response pool which is older, whiter, and more conservative than the public at large. He tries to justify this by claiming that these are the “likely voters’, but he does not implement a “:likely voter” screen in the way that any other professional firm does. He does not rely on respondants to self-identify as being interested in voting or not – rather he uses some version of the historical data on the tendencies of various groups to vote. Thus if blacks have tended to vote less frequently than whites in the past, then black responses are downweighted – for all questions, not just the cases where a likely voter screen is relevant – a horserace question just before an election.

    Rasmussen uses this formula even for issue questions that have nothing to do with imminent elections. Do the American people support Obamacare? Rasmussen will give you numbers that are distortions from actual results – he will down-weight the responses of blacks, hispancis, and young people etc. Yet, he will fraudulently sell these results as being reflective of the public at large.

    PPP does not have some mirror verison of these outrageous methodologies. They run their polls, as far as I can tell, using industry standard approaches. And their results in comparative analyses relative to actual election results bears this out.

    Here is a helpful like that you should read and assimilate.LINK

  10. anjin-san says:

    > Nobody hates teachers, they simply realize that in very tough economic times you shouldn’t get a golden ride

    Please show where any teachers are getting “a golden ride”. Certainly none I know are. Let’s see some numbers.

    Then lets discuss the voluntary cuts in pay and benefits that Walker, his staff, the GOP legislators and their staffs have (or have not) taken to do their share in the “crisis”.

    Then let’s see credible documentation of bomb threats and other threats of violence directed at Walker and or the GOP. Since we already know Fox has show fake footage of “union thugs” in WI, Fox is out as a source.