Wisconsin Victory? Burke’s Firing Confirmed, Final Poll Has Walker Up Seven

In an interview with Dan O’Donnell of local talk radio station WISN, the account of Mary Burke’s departure from a management role at her family’s company was confirmed in all its essentials by former President and COO Tom Albers.

Mr. Albers confirmed that Burke had performed very poorly as chief of European operations. She caused the loss of an unspecified but substantial amount of revenue to the company, and also caused severe “people problems.” She was even recalled and forced to attend a management meeting at the company’s Wisconsin headquarters, where she was made to apologize for her performance,

She then left the company on her extended snowboarding “sabbatical.” When she rejoined the firm two years later, she was deliberately placed in a position created for her which involved no managerial responsibilities.

In an interview with talk show host Vicki McKenna on the same radio station, Gary Ellerman -- who originally went public with the story of Mary Burke’s private sector career -- reiterated the story, and also stated that he was present in meetings in which Burke forcefully advocated outsourcing Trek’s manufacturing operations from the United States.

Burke is on record, numerous times, stating that she had had nothing to do with the decisions to outsource jobs, and that she would vigorously oppose outsourcing jobs from Wisconsin if she is elected governor.

To add to the horrendous development for Burke’s campaign, the final Marquette Law School poll taken before the general election next Tuesday was released on Wednesday with stunning results in favor of Scott Walker. Walker is leading Mary Burke among likely voters by a seven-point margin, 50% to 43%. Among registered voters, the lead is much smaller, 47% to 46%.

Last week’s poll showed the campaigns in a dead heat among likely voters, 47% to 47%. Meaning a seven-point swing took place even before the news of Burke’s covered-up background reached voters.

The huge swing has led the Burke campaign to dismiss the poll as an outlier. Yet the sample size of the poll was quite large for a state the size of Wisconsin (in general, the larger the sample, the more reliable the poll). 1,409 registered voters participated; of these, 1,164 expressed virtual certainty that they would vote. This number suggests a likely voter turnout of 70%, fairly high for an off-year election. Marquette calculates the margin of error to be 2.7%.

The pollster explains the massive shift in terms of turnout, rather than due to changes of opinion among the voters themselves, and this finds support in the numbers. Among likely voters, 93% of Republicans say that they are likely to vote, vs. 82% of Democrats and 75% of independents. In last week’s poll the ratio of Republican to Democratic likely voters was much closer, 82% to 80%.

The numbers for the male-female gap are also quite stunning. Among women likely to vote, Mary Burke still enjoys a lead, 49% to 43% (among registered voters, the gap is wider, 50% to 40%). However, among likely male voters, Walker leads 58% to 36% (among the registered voters, 53% to 39%, both far larger spreads, suggesting that the oft-discussed “gender gap” is less about Republican appeal to women than it is about male disapproval of the Democrats).

Among independent likely voters, Walker now beats Burke by a whopping 52% to 37% (while among registered independents, surprisingly Burke leads 46% to 40%).