MILWAUKEE Two public opinion polls released on Sunday show Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker with a lead of three and six percentage points two days before the election to recall him because of a new law reducing the power of public sector unions.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, said Walker was leading 50 percent to 47 percent over Democratic challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in its final survey. Angus Reid polling had Walker ahead 53 percent to 47 percent. Both findings were within the margin of error so the results could be even tighter.
The PPP margin of three percentage points compared with a five-point Walker lead in their survey three weeks ago.
"If Democrats turn out in the numbers they did in 2008, Tom Barrett will win a surprise victory. If they don't, Walker will survive," Dean Debnam, president of PPP, said in a statement on the polling firms website.
Wisconsin's independent agency managing the election last week projected a turnout of 60 percent to 65 percent of the voting age population in the recall. This would be higher than the 49.7 percent turnout in the 2010 election for governor won by Walker, but not as high as the 69.2 percent turnout in the 2008 election won by President Barack Obama.
PPP said it surveyed 1,226 likely voters on June 2 and 3 and the poll has a margin of error of 2.8 percent. PPP surveys frequently for Democrats but the firm said the final poll was not paid for by any candidate or political group.
Angus Reid surveyed 524 registered voters from May 30 to June 2 and has an error margin of 4.3 percent.
Neither poll showed a significant number of undecided voters, suggesting that turnout likely will determine the outcome. Both sides have massive operations under way to turn out their supporters.
Last year Walker pushed through the legislature a law forcing state and local workers to pay more for health insurance and pensions, limited their pay rises, made payment of union dues voluntary and forced unions to be recertified every year. The measure angered Democrats and unions, who gathered nearly 1 million signatures on petitions to force the recall election.
Some analysts are calling the Wisconsin recall the second most important U.S. election of the year because it could indicate which way the political wind is blowing in a key battleground state before the November presidential vote.