Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Poll: Gov. Scott Walker in tight race in Wisconsin, trailing among likely voters

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is one of the Republican Party's national stars, and perhaps even a potential candidate for president in 2016. But right now, he's in a serious fight for re-election against the Democratic nominee, businesswoman Mary Burke.

The new poll from Marquette University Law School, conducted from Aug. 21 to 24, notably shows different results among registered and likely voters — but not in the way one might expect. Among registered voters, Walker leads with 47.5 percent against Burke with 44.1 percent. But among likely voters, Burke is the one who is ahead with 48.6 percent, compared to Walker at 46.5 percent.

Both of those results are within the respective margins of error: Plus or minus 3.5 percent for registered voters, and plus or minus 4.1 percent for the likely voter screen.

This also does run a bit against the usual conventional wisdom, that Republicans are relatively more inclined to be likely voters than Democrats, especially in a presidential midterm election. On the other hand, this might be explained by the nature of Walker's governorship: He shot to national fame three and a half years ago with a law that stripped collective bargaining from public employee unions, resulting in massive protests and even a statewide recall election that he won in 2012.

As a result, Wisconsin has been a sharply polarized state ever since. And perhaps this time, it might just be that the Democrats have gained an organizational advantage, and are chomping at the bit to beat Walker.