• WisPolitics

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

 6:00 PM 

Greater Wisconsin slams Daley in new TV ad for sentence given man who beat two kids

The Greater Wisconsin Committee is up with a new TV ad that slams Supreme Court challenger James Daley for the sentence he gave a man who beat two young children.

The narrator opens the spot by saying it “was a horrific crime” and describes two young children being savagely beaten over an eight-hour period “until they blacked out.”

The narrator says the abuser faced 25 years in prison, but Daley, a Rock County judge, “agreed to a deal” and the man got only one year in jail.

“The victim’s mother called Daley’s sentence a complete failure of the justice system,” the narrator says to close the spot. “Tell Judge James Daley: Protect victims, not child abusers.”

-- By JR Ross

 11:30 AM 

Walker Watch 2016 Tuesday headline roundup

Tuesday's stories about Gov. Scott Walker's likely presidential run focus on immigration, a Bush/Walker match-up and a new Walker "fan club."


- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Scott Walker reiterates his opposition to amnesty

- Boston Herald: Franklin Pierce-Herald poll surprise: Bush no longer front-runner in N.H

- National Journal: How the 2016 Republicans Will Fight Over the Future of Obamacare 

- Capital Times: As Scott Walker gears up for 2016 run, Tonette prepares for the spotlight

- Wisconsin State Journal: Scott Walker has an (unofficial) fan club. Is that a good thing? 

- Bloomberg: The Conservative Group Behind Scott Walker's Political Rise


- Conor Friedersdorf: Scott Walker Tells Republicans What They Want to Hear on Foreign Policy

- Jim Newell: Scott Walker's "amnesty" problem

- Matt Lewis: What Jeb Gets That Walker Doesn't

- Greg Sargent: Scott Walker versus Jeb Bush for soul of the GOP?

- Jennifer Rubin: The newest smear against Scott Walker

- Robert Laszewski: Scott Walker's Medicaid Policy Says A Lot About How He Would Govern

- Steve Benen: Scott Walker starts steering clear of reporters


 8:27 AM 

Quinnipiac poll of swing states shows Clinton leading Walker

Gov. Scott Walker trailed Hillary Clinton in Quinnipiac University polling of three swing states. 

The surveys found overall Clinton's margins over GOP candidates had dropped since early February in the wake of questions over her use of personal email while secretary of state. 

Jeb Bush was the only GOP candidate to top Clinton in Florida, where he was backed by 45 percent of respondents and she was supported by 42 percent. Walker trailed her 46-40. 

In Ohio, Rand Paul was Clinton's closest challenger, and she led him 46-41. She led Walker 49-38. 

In Pennsylvania, 45 percent backed Paul to 44 percent for Clinton. She topped Walker there 46-41. 

The polls were conducted March 17-28 via live interviews over land lines and cell phones. More than 1,000 surveys of voters were conducted in each state, and the margin of error for each sample was plus or minus 3 percentage points. 

See more: 


 12:55 PM 

Walker Watch 2016 Monday headline roundup

News and opinion pieces from the weekend about Gov. Scott Walker's likely presidential bid focus on his visit to Texas, immigration and how he stacks up against Jeb Bush.


- ABC: Gov. Walker in Texas, out of sight during immigration flap

- Texas Tribune: Greg Abbott, Scott Walker Tour Mexico-Texas Border

- AP: Are the early primary states a big deal anymore?

- New York Times: Jeb Bush and Scott Walker Point G.O.P. to Contrary Paths 

- Miami Herald: Meet Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the conservative threat to Jeb Bush

- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: As legislator, Scott Walker wanted to upend primary schedule

- The Hill: Scott Walker's partner in power

- Politico: The crushing defeat that shaped Scott Walker


- Greg Sargent: Scott Walker immigration mess captures GOP's broader dilemma

- John McCormick: Behind Scott Walker's Border Visit Is His Immigration Muddle

- Steve Benen: Scott Walker's immigration position is as clear as mud

- PolitiFact: Scott Walker, Greg Abbott and the Truth-O-Meter

- Jessie Opoien: Scott Walker suggests being an Eagle Scout has prepared him to be commander in chief

- Matt Carpenter: President Scott Walker Will Overwhelm ISIS With Sheer Weight Of His Flip Flops 

- Oliver Willis: Media Ignores Scott Walker's Dark Money Controversy

- Joan Walsh: The rich's Scott Walker bungle: Why plutocrats fell for the wrong GOP governor

- Dave Zweifel: Scott Walker joins ranks of trickle-down cranks


 12:00 PM 

Daley raised $148,557 in pre-election period

Rock County Judge James Daley raised $148,557 for his Supreme Court campaign over a seven-week period leading up to the April election.

Daley's campaign finance report for the pre-election period shows he also spent $169,036 over the period, which covers activity between Feb. 3 and March 23.

Daley had $67,948 cash on hand with $6,500 in outstanding loans.

The deadline is today for spring candidates to file their pre-election reports with the GAB. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley's campaign said her numbers would be available later today.

UPDATE: This post has been updated with Daley's correct numbers for cash-on-hand and the amount spent during the period, based off the report he filed with the GAB. The original post was based off the cover sheet his campaign provided, but those figures were incorrect.

-- By JR Ross

 11:45 AM 

Walker, Bush even in New Hampshire

A new poll of New Hampshire GOP voters has Gov. Scott Walker tied with Jeb Bush.

The survey from Franklin Pierce University and the Boston Herald found 15 percent of respondents backed Bush and Walker, while U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was close behind at 13 percent. Chris Christie was the only other candidate to crack double digits at 10 percent.

Forty-eight percent of Republicans had a favorable view of Walker, while 16 percent had an unfavorable one. Thirteen percent had no opinion, while 22 percent did not recognize him. Bush had a higher favorability rating at 53 percent, but 37 percent of GOP primary voters had a negative view of him. Eight percent were undecided, while 2 percent didn't recognize him.

The poll of 429 GOP primary voters was conducted March 22-25 by land line and cell phones. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

  -- By JR Ross


 10:26 AM 

Walker noncommittal on 'religious freedom' law for Wisconsin, again talks stance on immigration

Gov. Scott Walker today was noncommittal on whether he believes Wisconsin should adopt something similar to Indiana's "religious freedom" law, saying it's not something that's been debated at any length here "but we'll have to see in the future."

Indiana's law, officially the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, has drawn scrutiny in recent weeks with opponents saying it would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Some of the law's backers have disputed that, saying the law was only intended to protect religion from government intrusion.

Asked if businesses should have the option to refuse service to customers, such as gays, based on religious grounds, Walker replied, "Well again, in our state, there's a balance between wanting to make sure there is not discrimination but at the same time, respecting religious freedoms. We do that different ways than what they’ve done in the state of Indiana, and certainly that’s going to be part of the debate here and across the country.”

Walker, who was in Milwaukee for a public appearance, would not say whether he would sign such a law, saying he did not expect such a bill coming “any time soon.”

Walker also attempted to clarify his stance on immigration after questions were raised last week if he had privately backed a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally after saying publicly he did not support such an option.

He said he first backed securing the border, noting he toured the area with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott late last week. He called it a security concern, saying cartels are trafficking drugs, weapons and humans across the border.

Once secure, the government could move forward with enforcing laws already on the books through an e-verify system.

"I do not believe in amnesty for citizenship," Walker said. "I believe that if someone wants to become a citizen they need to go to their country of origin and come in the system just like anyone else, and then beyond that, I think that's going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort. Then the next president and the Congress are going to have to look at working together and setting a policy on what to do for others who are seeking something other than citizenship."

-- By Kay Nolan


Friday, March 27, 2015

 5:03 PM 

Walker: Texas border tour shows need for enhanced security

Gov. Scott Walker's political operation said his tour of the Texas-Mexico border showed him "more bodies and technology are needed" to secure the border.

Walker made the tour -- his first visit to the border -- with Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The full email from Walker's political team is below:

Good afternoon, this morning Governor Walker toured the Texas-Mexico border with Texas Governor Greg Abbott – his first trip to the Mexican border. Governors Walker and Abbott first discussed the trip as a way for Governor Walker to see firsthand the crisis at the border and to talk with local officials about the challenges they are facing. Governor Walker received a briefing on the ground as well as an aerial briefing. Here are a few take-aways:

First and foremost, Governor Walker believes it is painfully clear Washington, D.C. hasn't done its job securing our borders.

Officials on the ground are doing an excellent job with the resources they have, but more bodies and technology are needed.

In the past Governor Walker has talked about securing the borders to protect the safety of our citizens – it's a security issue even more than an immigration issue. During his briefing today, it was made even more evident that the broken border is a safety issue not only as it relates to potential extremists, but also continued drug cartel violence. Drug cartels pose a long-term danger to border states and securing the border is vital.


 5:01 PM 

Walker Watch 2016 Friday headline roundup

Gov. Scott Walker's immigration stance and foreign affairs were the focus of Friday's news and opinion pieces relating to Walker's likely run for the GOP presidential nomination.


- Wisconsin State Journal:  Walker spokeswoman Kukowski disputes story that he reversed his immigration flip-flop 

- Reuters: Walker Denies Changing Stance On Undocumented Immigrants 

- CNN: Walker backs pathway to citizenship at private dinner

- Wall Street Journal: Scott Walker Adjusts Stance on Immigration at Private Dinner

- Washington Post: Scott Walker softens immigration stance, dinner participants say

- CNN: Jim Talent to Scott Walker's team

- USA Today: Scott Walker: I'd reject Iran nuclear deal on 'Day One' 

- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Scott Walker wades into foreign policy as profile rises

- NBC First Read: A foreign-policy election (more or less) is upon us


- Jessie Opoien: Scott Walker spokeswoman disputes report on immigration shift, says his position hasn't changed

- Dara Lind: Scott Walker wasn't lying on immigration. He just hoped GOP voters misunderstood him. 

- Ken McIntyre: Scott Walker Lands Former Senator as National Security Expert for 2016 Race

- PolitiFact: Has PolitiFact rated Scott Walker the nation's "most factually-challenged" politician?

- Jennifer Rubin: Rick Perry and Scott Walker get more impressive with time 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

 1:41 PM 

Suffolk: Bush 19, Walker 14 in New Hampshire

A new Suffolk University poll has Jeb Bush and Scott Walker at the head of the GOP pack in New Hampshire.

Nineteen percent of GOP primary voters backed Bush, while 14 percent supported Walker and 7 percent backed Rand Paul.

As with other GOP presidential primary polls, Walker led Bush among Republicans who described themselves as conservatives; 20 percent of those voters backed Walker, while 14 percent supported Bush. Meanwhile, 46 percent of Republicans had a positive view of Walker, while 15 percent had a negative view. Bush's split was 54-27. 

The statewide survey of 500 likely GOP presidential primary voters was conducted Saturday through Tuesday using live interviews over land lines and cell phones. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

-- By JR Ross


 12:19 PM 

Walker Watch 2016 Thursday headline roundup

Gov. Scott Walker's stance on Iran tops news headlines, and columnists in today's roundup opine on Walker's management style and whether he is spending enough time in the state.


- USA Today: Walker: I'd reject Iran nuclear deal on 'Day One'

- The Hill: Walker says he'd reject deal with Iran 'on day one' 

- Madison.com: Charting national search interest in Scott Walker 

- Washington Times: Walker scheduled to tour U.S.-Mexico border Friday  


- James Howerton: The Huge Move Scott Walker Says He'd Make on 'Day One' If Elected President

- Josh Israel: Scott Walker's Spectacular Flip-Flop On Political Contributions From The Gambling Industry

- Chris Rickert: Scott Walker hits the campaign trail armed with what works (for him) 

- Christian Schneider: Walker hasn't left Wisconsin home alone

-  Lisa Kaiser: Scott Walker Can't Run on His Job-Creation Record 

- ELiana Johnson: Scott Walker Is His Own Best Political Operative, and That's a Problem 

- Matt Lewis: Scott Walker Has A Micromanagement Problem 

- Carl Leubsdorf: 7 obstacles Ted Cruz must overcome -- including Scott Walker

- Travis Arbon: Walker speaks to Ariz. Chamber of Commerce behind closed doors

- Benjy Sarlin: Walker fundraises off voter ID victory

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

 2:09 PM 

Walker Watch 2016 Wednesday headline roundup

In today's headlines, Walker's political group hires a former Romney aide, Walker plans a Texas visit and pundits weigh in on John Menard's $1.5 million donation to a group that backed Walker in the recall election.


- Texas Tribune: Texas Gov. Abbott, Walker to Tour Texas-Mexico Border

- Houston Chronicle: Abbott to tour border with potential 2016 contender Walker

- Newsmax: Gov. Scott Walker to Visit Texas-Mexico Border Friday

- Breitbart: Walker Heads to Texas Border with Abbott

- Cap Times: Latest Scott Walker map point: David Koch's oceanside mansion

- Miami Herald: Walker's team picks up a top Romney staffer

- MJS: Walker's political group hires a top Romney staffer

- NBC First Read [5th item]: Why "John Doe" investigation remains a problem for Walker

- Wisconsin State Journal: Report: John Menard gave $1.5 million to conservative group tied to Scott Walker 


- Paul Waldman: If the campaign finance system is scandalous, let's treat it that way

- Jazz Shaw: Another "dark money scandal" hits, this time for Scott Walker 

- Steve Benen: Walker confronts new 'dark money' controversy 

- Charles Pierce: Scott Walker Saves More Money For Menard

- Jessie Opoien: Scott Walker's time: The governor is running for president. Can he win?

- Jamelle Bouie: What Scott Walker Can Teach Hillary Clinton


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

 11:39 AM 

PPP: Walker narrows gap with Bush in Florida, trails Clinton

Scott Walker has narrowed the gap with Jeb Bush in Florida among GOP voters, according to a new survey from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling.

Bush led the GOP field at 25 percent, while Walker was backed by 17 percent. Marco Rubio was next at 15 percent, while Ben Carson was at 12 percent.

The last time PPP did a presidential poll in Florida was June. Since then, Bush’s numbers have dropped 5 percentage points, while Walker’s support has ticked up 10 points.

The firm found only 37 percent of Florida voters think Bush should run for president, while 35 percent believe Rubio should.

The survey also asked about a series of hypothetical general election match ups between Dem Hillary Clinton and the GOP field. She had an edge of between 2 and 8 points on each of the Republicans she was paired with. Rubio was the closest, down 48-46, while Walker trailed her 49-41. 

The poll also paired Walker with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has said she will not run. It found 42 percent backed the Massachusetts senator, while 41 percent favored Walker. Against Vice President Joe Biden, Walker was tied at 43 percent apiece.

The survey also found the guv is still relatively unknown in Florida. Thirty-three percent of voters had a favorable opinion of him, 28 percent an unfavorable opinion and 39 percent were not sure.

The poll of 923 registered Florida voters was conducted March 19-22. The sample included 425 GOP primary voters and 371 Dems. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for the general election questions, 4.8 percentage points for the GOP sample and 5.1 points for the Dem sample. Eighty percent of the interviews were conducted over the phone, while 20 percent were done over the Internet.

-- By JR Ross


 11:09 AM 

Walker Watch 2016 Tuesday headline roundup

'Dark money,' voter ID and Ted Cruz are the focus of the latest stories surrounding Gov. Scott Walker's likely presidential run.


- Wisconsin State Journal: Scott Walker planning to return to South Carolina on May 9 

- The State: Scott Walker coming to Greenville in May

- Wisconsin Radio Network: Waiting for Scott Walker to announce his presidential run

- Yahoo News: Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe

- MJS: Report: Menards owner gave $1.5 million to pro-Walker group


- Elias Isquith: Ted Cruz’s 'Scott Walker' problem

- James Beattie: Walker Compliments Cruz Before Saying Washington Needs A ‘Fresh Face’

- John Nolte: Voter ID: Supreme Court Hands Scott Walker Another Win

- Jason Howerton: Supreme Court Hands Scott Walker Big Victory on Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law

- Perry Bacon Jr.: Should Republicans Believe Scott Walker's Story?

- Scott Keyes: Scott Walker Deputy Admits Clean Energy States ‘Have A Competitive Advantage’

- Tom Clementi: Check Walker’s motives on energy choices

- Robert Leonard: 'The Internet is a dark place' says former Walker aide Mair


Monday, March 23, 2015

 10:52 AM 

Schimel: Voter ID won't be in place for April 7 election

Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement today voter ID will not be implemented for the spring election because absentee ballots are already in the hands of voters.

"The Voter ID law will be in place for future elections – this decision is final,” Schimel said in a short statement.

-- By Staff

 10:42 AM 

Walker Watch news, analysis and opinion headlines

Below is a roundup of selected headlines about Gov. Scott Walker's likely presidential bid.

News and Features

- MJS: Walker set to make political trip to Israel in spring

- AP: Walker to make appearance in Phoenix

- Washington Post: Republicans rally to Walker’s call, believing he’s a scrappy survivor

- New York Times: For 2016 Run, Walker Washes ‘Wiscahnsin’ Out of His Mouth

- New York Times: Scott Walker’s Path

- MJS: On campaign trail, Scott Walker kick-starts Regular Joe image

- MJS: Walker in South Carolina says he can win broad support

- MJS: Walker’s teen years in Delavan put him on the road to politics 

- Wisconsin State Journal: Walker on potential presidential run: 'There's a good vibe out there'

- Bloomberg: Walker Once Backpedaled After Supporting Wisconsin Gun-Control Bill

Opinion and Analysis 

- Haley Sweetland Edwards: Scott Walker: Bold in Office, Meek on the Trail

- John Torinus:  Absentee Gov. Scott Walker defers to staff and it shows 

- Harlan Green:  Governor Scott Walker vs. Unions

- Michael Hiltzik:  Could Wisconsin's Scott Walker now abolish the weekend? 

- Besty Woodruff:  Does Scott Walker Have a Jobs Problem?

- Susan Berry: Gov. Scott Walker and the Problem of Common Core


 9:22 AM 

Supreme Court refuses to take voter ID challenge, opponents file emergency request to extend stay

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear a challenge to Wisconsin's voter ID law.

The court had blocked the requirement from being implemented for the November 2014 election. Today's decision leaves in place a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the law is constitutional.

Those opposed to the law immediately filed an emergency request to extend a stay of the requirement to prevent it from being implemented for the spring election. The request notes absentee ballots have already been sent ahead of the April 7 election.

-- By JR Ross

Friday, March 20, 2015

 9:13 AM 

Walker continues S.C. swing

Gov. Scott Walker continues his swing through South Carolina today.

During an event Thursday, Walker alluded to the departure of Liz Mair from his campaign. She was hired earlier this week to lead his online communication efforts, but resigned following an outcry over her past tweets, including some that were viewed as critical of Iowa voters.

"One of my clear rules is, if you're going to be on our team, whether on the paid staff or a volunteer, what I say is, you need to respect the voters, even those that don't agree with you," Walker said at an event in Greenville, according to one report. "Even if you don't agree with voters all the time, even if you don't understand all the voters, you need to respect them."

Here are a few headlines about Walker's visit:

In S.C., Scott Walker touts ‘grassroots,’ nationwide fundraising network

Walker declares he can 'put the nation on a path to the right'

- Walker touts right-to-work in South Carolina

Wherever Walker campaigns, dogged protesters follow


Thursday, March 19, 2015

 4:05 PM 

Bradley TV ad slams Daley for sentence he gave man for beating two children

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is out with a new TV ad that slams challenger James Daley for the sentence he gave a man for beating two children.

The narrator opens the spot by saying, “Their mother called it a complete failure of justice, her two children severely beaten, bloody and unconscious. But the attacker only got a year from Judge James Daley.”

The narrator goes on to say Daley’s “excuse for denying the victims justice” was it “wasn’t the worst case he’d ever seen.”

The narrator then says Bradley been endorsed by more than 100 sheriffs and police chiefs for being “tough, fair and impartial” as she’s shown talking to Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

“Ann Walsh Bradley, a justice who will fight for justice,” the narrator says to close the spot as the ad shows her speaking with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

-- By JR Ross

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

 9:01 AM 

Walker 527 aide quits over Twitter comments

Liz Mair, who earlier this week was hired to lead online communication efforts for Gov. Scott Walker's 527, has resigned following an outcry over past tweets, including some that were viewed as critical of Iowa voters. 

In January, Mair tweeted the sooner Iowa's first-in-the-nation status ended in the presidential process, "the better off American politics and policy will be." She also tweeted, "Morons across America are astounded to learn that people from *IOWA* grow up rather government-dependent. #agsubsidies #ethanol #brainless." 

Focus on the tweets prompted the Iowa state GOP chair to call on Walker to fire Mair. 

"The tone of some of my tweets concerning Iowa was at odds with that which Gov. Walker has always encouraged in political discourse," Mair said in a statement to The Associated Press announcing her resignation. "I wish Gov. Walker and his team all the best." 

Mair took to Twitter following the announcement, sending a series of missives that started with, "Now that I'm off payroll, there are a couple things I'd like to say." 

"1. The 'morons' I was referring to in that 1 tweet were Ds who were feigning surprise at an Iowa family having benefited from farm subsidies," Mair wrote in one Tweet, followed by, "I was not calling Iowans morons. And if you read the tweet, and look at the online discussion around the time it was made, that's obvious." 

She went on to discuss her opposition to the renewable fuel standard and U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, writing some of the things he says on immigration are "embarrassing and factually dubious." 

"I also think the fact that King is held out as the only real force in Iowa and representative of what Iowans think is embarassing for Iowa," she wrote, followed by, "I was however wrong to implicitly buy into that notion with a couple of quick-fire, snarky tweets." 

See her Twitter feed:

UPDATE: Our American Revival Executive Director Rick Wiley said in a statement, "We accept those who have a variety of viewpoints on issues but what we ultimately must have is absolute respect for people across the country. Our American Revival is an organization formed to promote bold reforms across the country and we’re going to continue advocating for those ideals."


Thursday, March 12, 2015

 11:16 AM 

Bradley releases first TV ad, says everyone deserves 'fair shake'

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley today released her first TV ad of the campaign, saying everyone before the Supreme Court deserves a "fair shake."

The spot opens with Bradley in the chamber and then talking to the camera before the narrator says she's been on the court for 20 years and has been endorsed by more than 100 sheriffs and police chiefs "for being tough, fair and impartial."

"Special interests and partisan politics have no place in our courtrooms," Bradley says. "My job is to stand up for the constitution and for the people of Wisconsin, and I will never stop."

The narrator then closes out the ad, "Tough, fair, impartial, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley."

Bradley's campaign said the ad will begin airing over the weekend.

-- By JR Ross

 9:28 AM 

Walker, Bush tied in Connecticut

Gov. Scott Walker and Jeb Bush were tied atop the GOP field in Connecticut, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Walker and Bush were each backed by 18 percent of Republicans polled, while Rand Paul was at 12 percent and Chris Christie at 11.

Hillary Clinton had significant leads over each of the Republicans she was paired with in hypothetical general election contests. That includes a 53-33 edge over Walker.

The poll of 1,235 registered voters was conducted March 6-9 and included live interviews over land lines and cell phones. The margin of error in the general election questions was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. It was plus or minus 5.5 percentage points for the sample of 323 Republicans.

- By Staff


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

 11:14 AM 

PPP: Feingold 50, Johnson 41

Russ Feingold led U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson 50 percent to 41 percent in a hypothetical head-to-head rematch of their 2010 race, according to a new poll from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling.

Feingold, who lost to Johnson in 2010, is widely expected to see a rematch in 2016, and PPP found him to be the most popular politician in the state tested in the latest poll.

Forty-six percent of voters had a favorable impression of Feingold, while 35 percent had an unfavorable impression of him.

Meanwhile, 32 percent of respondents approved of the job Johnson is doing, while 40 percent disapproved and 28 percent had no opinion.

PPP said one reason Feingold had a nine-point lead on Johnson was the 52-38 edge he had with independents.

It was the fourth time since 2013 that PPP has found the former Dem senator with an edge over Johnson. The other gaps were 6, 7 and 10 percentage points.

The survey of 1,071 registered voters was conducted Friday through Sunday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Eighty percent of the interviews were done over the phone, while 20 percent were conducted online to reach those who don't have landline telephones.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

 11:58 AM 

PPP: Walker approval rating down, guv trails Clinton among Wisconsin voters

Gov. Scott Walker’s approval rating has dipped significantly among Wisconsin voters since last fall, and he trails Hillary Clinton in his home state in a mythical head-to-head matchup for the presidency, according to a new poll for the Dem firm Public Policy Polling.

The poll found 43 percent of Wisconsin voters approve of the job Walker is doing, while 52 percent disapprove. That’s down from a 49-47 spread last fall.

PPP found Walker’s numbers among Dems and Republicans were largely unchanged. But he’s gone from a 48-45 spread with independents to 36-57.

Meanwhile, Walker trailed Clinton 52-43. In September 2013, the firm matched the two and Walker trailed 49-44.

The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, after news broke that Clinton had used a private email account while secretary of State. Forty-three percent of respondents had a favorable view of Clinton, while 48 percent had a negative one.

The survey wrapped up on the heels of debate in the state Legislature over right-to-work, which Walker signed the day after the poll finished up in the field. The poll found 42 percent supported the bill, while 44 percent were opposed.

Meanwhile, Walker’s support among Wisconsin Republicans for the nomination has ticked up. Fifty-three percent of Republicans want Walker to be the GOP candidate, while 12 percent backed Ben Carson and 8 percent favored Jeb Bush. The firm said the last time it tested the Republican field in Wisconsin without Paul Ryan in the mix, Walker was at 37 percent.

Overall, 35 percent of Wisconsin voters want Walker to run for president, while 58 percent do not. PPP said that is in line with other presidential contenders in their home states.

The poll of 1,071 registered voters included 461 GOP primary voters and 504 Dem primary voters. The margin of error for the overall poll was plus or minus 3 percentage points, while it was plus or minus 4.6 percentage points for the GOP sample and plus or minus 4.4 percentage points for Dems. Eighty percent of the surveys were conducted over the phone, while 20 percent were done over the internet to reach those who do not have landlines.

The poll also found President Obama’s job approval rating was 44-49.

-- By JR Ross


Saturday, March 7, 2015

 3:17 PM 

Walker backs renewable fuel standard, oppose labeling genetically modified foods at Iowa Ag Summit

Gov. Scott Walker today said he backs renewing the renewable fuel standard, would phase out federal wind tax credits and opposes requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods.

Addressing the Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines, Walker was asked a series of questions on agriculture by host Bruce Rastetter, who had made part of his fortune off the ethanol industry.

Walker said the RFS, which guarantees market access for ethanol and biodiesel, is needed now because there isn’t a free and open marketplace.

Walker has previously declined to answer questions about the policy, which helps Iowa corn farmers. He said he would eventually like to get to the point where a standard was no longer needed.

"I think eventually you can get to that," Walker said. "But you can’t get to that unless you deal with market access."

Walker also said he sees no need to label foods that are genetically modified, saying it gives the false impression it’s something different. He said producers who want to label their food as organic, for example, should be free to do so. But the federal government shouldn’t mandate food that are genetically modified be labeled as such, adding the U.S. has some of freshest food in the world.

“We should be proud of that,” he said. “We shouldn’t let anyone tell us otherwise.”

Walker got some of his biggest applause talking about the work requirements he put in place for able-bodied adults seeking government assistance. He was also applauded while talking about a proposal in his budget requiring adults seeking unemployment and other government assistance to go through a drug screen and possibly a test to qualify. He dismissed those who claim the move is designed to make it harder to get help.

“I’ve got to tell you we’re not,” Walker said. “We’re making it easier to get a job.”

-- By Staff


Thursday, March 5, 2015

 9:15 AM 

Walker, Bush lead Quinnipiac poll of national Republicans

Gov. Scott Walker and Jeb Bush are at the head of the pack in a Quinnipiac University poll of national Republicans.

Walker led with 18 percent, while Bush was next at 16 percent. Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee were tied for third at 8 percent each.

Bush did better than Walker against Hillary Clinton in hypothetical general election head-to-head match ups.

Clinton led Bush 45-42, while she topped Walker 48-39. Christie, Rand Paul, Huckabee and Marco Rubio also fared better against Clinton than Walker did.

Among national voters, 23 percent had a positive impression of Walker, while 24 percent had a negative one. Fifty-two percent didn't know enough about him to have an opinion.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,286 registered voters nationally, including 554 Republicans. The general election questions had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, while the GOP primary questions had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. The live interviews included land lines and cell phones.

-- By JR Ross


 8:36 AM 

Abortion rights group runs Iowa ad against Walker

An abortion rights group is out with a new print ad accusing Gov. Scott Walker of "blatantly" misrepresenting his record and saying he cannot be trusted.

The ad is addressed to Iowans ahead of Walker's trip there this weekend to speak at the Iowa Ag Summit and ran in today's Des Moines Register.

It notes the TV ad Walker ran during his re-election campaign last year in which he looked into the camera and discussed a bill he supports that "leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor."

The print ad says that is in sharp contrast with Walker's record of seeking to restrict abortion, but he only uses that record "in moments he finds convenient."

"We also want a president with integrity, one whose word we can trust," says the ad, signed Your Wisconsin Neighbors. "Scott Walker cannot be trusted, and we thought you should know."

See the ad:


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

 1:32 PM 

PPP: Walker surging in North Carolina

The Dem firm Public Policy Polling says Gov. Scott Walker is surging in North Carolina, leading to GOP presidential field.

The firm found Walker at 24 percent among GOP voters, compared to 17 percent for Jeb Bush, 15 percent for Mike Huckabee and 12 percent for Ben Carson.

Walker's support is up 10 points from a North Carolina poll the firm did last month.

In a hypothetical head-to-head general election match up, Hillary Clinton and Walker were neck-and-neck. She was backed by 45 percent of voters, while 43 percent supported Walker. Carson did best among Republicans against Clinton, with 46 percent to her 45 percent.

The firm surveyed 849 registered voters in North Carolina, including 389 GOP primary voters. The poll, conducted Feb. 24-26, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points in the general election question and plus or minus 5 percentage points in the GOP primary.

-- By JR Ross


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

 5:14 PM 

Walker promises to sign 20-week abortion ban

Gov. Scott Walker pledged to sign legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks "when it gets to my desk," also indicating in a letter today from his campaign that he'd support a similar bill at the federal level.

"I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life, and I will always fight to protect it," Walker wrote.

Anti-abortion activists have made the ban a top priority for this session, but the legislation has not yet been introduced.

Walker's letter comes as Hillary Clinton, the presumed Dem frontrunner for president, was in DC to address and event hosted by EMILY's List, which backs abortion rights.

It also comes on the heels of criticism Walker received from some anti-abortion activists for an answer he gave during an interview on "Fox News Sunday." Asked by host Chris Wallace if abortion is a woman's choice, Walker said it is under guidelines provided by the Supreme Court. Wallace asked if he would "change that law."

"Well, that's not a change you can make. The Supreme Court ultimately made that," Walker said.

The response drew criticism in posts at the blog for the conservative American Principles in Action. One suggested Walker should have advocated for a ban on abortion after 20 weeks.

Read the blog

See the letter


 3:39 PM 

Walker adds stops in South Carolina, Iowa to busy travel calendar

Gov. Scott Walker will be keeping up his heavy travel schedule, with new trips on the calendar for South Carolina and Iowa.

The guv already had plans to speak at the Iowa Ag Summit on Saturday. The Des Moines Register has reported while Walker is in the state, he'll attend an evening fundraiser in Dubuque for GOP U.S. Rep. Rod Blum.

He is scheduled to address the New Hampshire GOP's Grassroots Training and Rally on March 14.

Walker also has plans to be in South Carolina March 19 and 20 for stops in Columbia, Greenville, Rock Hill and Charleston, according to CNN.

He is one of several possible presidential candidates scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting April 10-12 in Nashville.

Walker will be back in Iowa next month to speak at the Northwest Iowa GOP dinner on April 24 before speaking the next day at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's spring dinner.


 11:10 AM 

Rasmussen: Clinton 46, Walker 41

Hillary Clinton leads Scott Walker in a new survey of national voters from the GOP firm Rasmussen Reports.

The firm found 46 percent of likely U.S. voters said they would back Clinton if the election were held today, while 41 percent would support Walker. Eight percent preferred someone else, while 6 percent were undecided.

It's the first time Rasmussen has matched Walker against Clinton.

She led Jeb Bush 45-36, compared to 47-33 a year ago. Clinton also topped Ben Carson 47-36, similar to polling the firm did in June.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Saturday and Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

-- By JR Ross


 10:32 AM 

Feingold says in Facebook post he plans to travel state in 2015, listening to concerns of Wisconsinites

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who is widely expected to run for his old Senate seat next year, posted on Facebook this morning that he plans to spend part of 2015 traveling Wisconsin to listen to the concerns of state residents.

Feingold wrote after he leaves the State Department this week, he will spend part of 2015 teaching international relations and law at Stanford University. Most of the rest of the year will be spent living at his home in Middleton and traveling the state "extensively."

"I will listen carefully to my fellow Wisconsinites talk about their concerns, especially those involving their economic well-being. I will also seek their counsel on how I can best further serve my country and the state I love," Feingold wrote.

-- By JR Ross

 8:11 AM 

Daley radio ad calls Bradley activist opposed to Walker's 'major reforms'

Supreme Court candidate James Daley is out with a new radio ad charging Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is an activist who “has consistently used her position to oppose Governor Walker’s major reforms.”

The narrator accuses Bradley of trying to end Act 10, “putting politics ahead of the law,” and trying to stop voter ID from becoming law.

“As long as Ann Walsh Bradley remains on the Supreme Court, she's a threat to block the common-sense reforms that are moving Wisconsin forward,” the narrator says.

The narrator then asks listeners to “put an end to Ann Walsh Bradley playing politics on the Supreme Court.”

“I'm Judge James Daley,” the challenger says to close the spot. “With your help, I'll defend our Constitution and uphold the rule of law. I'm asking for your vote for Supreme Court on April 7th.”

Daley’s campaign said the ad began running this morning.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, March 2, 2015

 4:02 PM 

Walker: 'My view has changed' on immigration

Gov. Scott Walker says he has changed his position on immigration and doesn't support amnesty for illegal immigrants now living in the U.S.

Walker's comments on immigration in recent weeks have been under scrutiny as he insisted he opposed amnesty despite past comments and actions that suggested he had previously supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants now living in the country.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," the likely presidential candidate said his position has changed. He blamed President Obama's handling of the immigration issue for the shift.

"My view has changed, I'm flat-out saying it. Candidates can say that, sometimes they don't," Walker said.

The guv also insisted he hasn't flipped his position on right-to-work after calling the bill a distraction last year, but now promising to sign it. He said now "is the perfect time" for the bill.

"I never said I'd veto it," Walker said. "I asked for them not to make it a distraction early on in the session. I presented my budget. I laid out my agenda. They're acting on that right now. Now is the perfect time."

The guv also sought to address other controversies that have flared in recent weeks.

Walker insisted he wasn't comparing ISIS to protesters who flooded the Capitol four years ago when he told a crowd of conservative activists last week if he could take on the pro-union crowd, "I can do the same across the world."

He insisted he was not comparing the two entities and his comment "was about leadership."

Walker also said he believes the president loves America.

Walker has taken flak after Rudy Giuliani said at a dinner the two attended that Obama didn't love America. Walker, who had refused to condemn the comments previously, said the former New York mayor wasn't speaking on his behalf.

"I think, in the end, he and anybody else who is willing to put their name on the ballot certainly has to have the love for country to do that," Walker said.

The guv also waded into his refusal to answer a question on whether he believed the president is a Christian, saying he wasn't going to get into a "manufactured media crisis."

Read the transcript of Sunday's show


 2:34 PM 

Franklin: Peaking too early can be a problem in presidential nomination process

Gov. Scott Walker may be flying high in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign contest, but can he sustain it?

Just days before Walker suggested dealing with protesters had prepared him for taking on terrorists from the self-proclaimed Islamic State during a speech at the annual CPAC on Thursday, Marquette Law School poll director Charles Franklin told a DC breakfast sponsored by WisPolitics on Tuesday that one of the keys to winning a presidential nomination is to not peak too early.

"Everybody got their 15 minutes" of fame during the GOP nominating contest in 2012, Franklin noted. But "brief opportunity is hard to translate into constant support, " he said, reminding attendees of the short-lived rises of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain last time around.

But in addition to a "breakout" performance at the Iowa Freedom Summit last month, Walker has another advantage over most would-be GOP nominees: a national donor base, Franklin said. Thanks to the high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful effort to have him recalled in 2012 and his tough re-election race last November, Walker sports a broader pool of donors than most governors, Franklin said.

At this stage of the primaries, it's crucial to define yourself before critics or rivals do, Franklin said. Walker did an excellent job of that in Iowa when he introduced himself to conservative activists likely to be key in deciding the nation's first presidential caucuses, he said.

"In Wisconsin it's hard for us to understand that Scott Walker isn't a household name everywhere" but he isn't and he did a good job of letting Iowans know who he is and what he has accomplished so far, Franklin said.

Generally speaking, any potential nominee is mostly acceptable to the bulk of primary voters so the trick is standing out from the crowd, said Franklin.

But since Iowa, it's an open question whether Walker is standing out in a good way.

He came under heavy fire by refusing to acknowledge that President Obama is a Christian during the recent National Governors Association meeting in Washington. And mere hours after making the protester-ISIS connection on Thursday, Walker was walking back from it.

"My point was just, if I could handle that kind of a pressure and kind of intensity (of the 2011 protests), I think I'm up for the challenge for whatever might come, if I choose to run for president," Walker told Bloomberg Politics after.

There are also lessons from Wisconsin polling on Walker.

The governor has never won in November of a presidential year in Wisconsin, so it's unclear how he would fare in the fall of 2016 when many Dem-leaning voters who don't vote in gubernatorial elections come to the polls, Franklin suggested.

But Walker has won independents -- who do not affiliate themselves with either party -- in his three gubernatorial races. However, independents and moderate party members are not necessarily one bloc, Franklin said. "The two groups are splitting differently in Wisconsin right now," he added.

In another 2016 race, freshman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, could have a tough road to reelection, Franklin said.

"Johnson, for someone now four-plus years into his first term," still doesn't have great name identification, Franklin said. Former Sen. Russ Feingold still is better known than Johnson and is viewed more favorably by Wisconsinites than Johnson, he said.

That could give Feingold the leg up, should he choose to seek a rematch.

Listen to audio from the event


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