An early poll in the 2014 Wisconsin governor's race puts incumbent Republican Scott Walker in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Mary Burke and indicates that Hillary Clinton would carry the state in the 2016 presidential election.
According to a Marquette Law School Poll of 800 Wisconsin registered voters, 47 percent of those surveyed would choose Walker, compared to 45 percent who would support Burke, a difference that is within the poll's margin of error.
The poll conducted Oct. 21-24 also found that 49 percent of those surveyed approve of the job Walker is doing but 47 percent disapprove, suggesting there are very few voters in the Badger State who haven't formed an opinion of the conservative governor, who was elected in 2010.
But the survey also found that the public has yet to form any strong impressions of Burke, a Madison school board member, former state commerce secretary, and Trek Bicycle executive.
Seventy percent of those surveyed say they haven't heard enough about her to know whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion. Seventeen percent expressed a favorable impression toward her and 14 percent an unfavorable view.
Walker has been touted as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and the poll indicated he would be the first choice for the party's nomination among Wisconsin Republicans and independents who lean Republican.
Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and independents surveyed say they would support his presidential bid, compared to 25 percent who say they support Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012.
Overall, 52 percent of those surveyed said they would like to see Walker run for president, compared to 43 percent who expressed the opposite view.
No matter who the Republican nominee turns out to be, most voters in the Marquette poll say they plan to back Hillary Clinton if she runs for president.
If a general election match-up were held today, the survey found that Clinton would beat Walker by a margin of 53 percent to 41 percent, and would beat Ryan 51 percent to 43 percent.
The survey also found that she would beat New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 50 percent to 40 percent and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas by a margin of 55 percent to 33 percent.
Mary Burke, a Madison School Board member, has been busy this summer meeting with Wisconsin's largest union, Democratic lawmakers, and operatives with ties to President Obama and groups like EMILY'S List, exploring a possible run for governor. While Burke has not officially announced, she is considered likely to face Governor Scott Walker in 2014.
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