No one outside of Wisconsin had ever heard of him two months ago but our newest national poll suggests Scott Walker could be a serious contender for the Republican Presidential nomination.
Walker's favorability with Republicans is a +44 spread at 55/11. That makes him already more popular with the party base than Mike Huckabee (+42 at 58/16), Sarah Palin (+40 at 63/23), Mitt Romney (+21 at 47/26), and Newt Gingrich (+19 at 49/30).
None of the folks most seriously considering this race have been able to get any momentum yet, leaving a lot of room for a fresher face to enter and get a lot of traction. Walker's crusade against the unions has put him in a position where he could be that guy.
Walker's in good standing with the GOP base but overall Americans have a negative opinion of him and side with the unions in the current conflict, although it would be hard to describe the country as anything other than closely divided. 34% of voters have a favorable opinion of Walker to 39% who rate him negatively. 46% generally have a favorable opinion of labor unions to 40% who rate them negatively. And 45% say they side with the unions in the Wisconsin dispute to 41% who go with Walker. These findings all closely mirror what we found in the state itself- voters are extremely polarized but do side narrowly with the workers.
Even for the general election Walker's favorability numbers, though under water, stack up well to the rest of the Republican field. His -5 spread is better than Huckabee's -7 (35/42), Romney's -12 (32/44), Palin's -22 (35/57), and Gingrich's -31 (26/57). The primary flaw with the top GOP hopefuls is that Americans already know them well and dislike them. That might prove to be the case ultimately with Walker as well but a candidacy from him is an intriguing possibility. We'll throw him on some of our polls over the next few weeks for both primary and general elections and see how he does.
Full results here