Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s support has collapsed, according to a new poll that shows that 58 percent of voters favor recalling the Republican whose anti-labor initiatives provoked the mass demonstrations that anticipated the Occupy Wall Street movement.
According to a new St. Norbert College/Wisconsin Public Radio survey of Wisconsin voters, only 38 percent of voters now support retaining Walker as governor. That represents a ten-point drop in support for the governor since last spring, when it was presumed that he had bottomed out. In fact, they have continued to decline, with significant movement of previously undecided voters into the anti-Walker camp. Thirty-seven percent of Wisconsinites now “strongly disapprove” of Walker’s governorship, while 21 percent merely disapprove. Among the most engaged (and presumably likely) voters, the figire rises to a remarkable 61 percent overall disapproval number for the governor. Significantly, while attitudes toward President Obama and the state’s Republican senator, Ron Johnson, have remained relatively steady, Walker’s numbers have tanked. That’s a serious problem for the governor, as it suggests that voters are crossing partisan and even ideological lines to oppose him.
The numbers, revealed in a poll by the state’s premier survey group and parallel to figures seen in some internal polls, explain why Walker has responded so aggressively to the threat posed by a recall drive, which launched Tuesday.
In the latest of a series of desperate moves by Walker and his backers, Republican legislator moved Tuesday to give the embattled governor veto power over decisions about the recall election he is likely to face next spring.
The Republican-led Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules has ordered the state’s Government Accountability Board—an independent agency that oversees elections in Wisconsin—to submit decisions regarding key voting-rights issues to a formal rule-making process that gives Governor Walker and Republican legislative leaders the ability to reject rule changes made by the GAB.
Critics warn that this gives Walker the power to dictate how the GAB runs elections—including a new election that would be scheduled if opponents of the governor succeed in filing 540,000 valid signatures on recall petitions. That’s because, under an executive order the governor recently issued, he now has the authority to veto newly created administrative rules—if they are formally promulgated. The decision by the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, which was made in a party-line vote Tuesday, requires the formalizing of the rules in a manner that gives the final say to the governor, as opposed to the independent board that is supposed to set election rules and oversee voting.
“What we’re doing here is we’re neutering the GAB,” complained state Senator Fred Risser, the Madison Democrat who is the senior member of the legislature.