Up Front's second story of the week. Governor Doyle's job approval ratings have fallen and two polls produced opposite results for trial heats against Scott Walker and Mark Neumann. Where does this polling put the Governor for a 2010 reelection campaign? What opportunities does this present to the GOP challengers? See the video here.
Let's take a look at Gov. Doyle's job approval ratings that are behind the comments on Up Front. First, overall approval and disapproval:
The amazing bit of this chart is how approval peaks just in time for the reelection in 2006. Up to the fall of 2006 the Governor's net approval was negative. It was the campaign that boosted him, whether through the quality of his campaign, a failure of Mark Green's campaign, or national pro-Democratic forces. Since the reelection, however, Gov. Doyle's approval has stayed in net-negative territory, converging only for a moment in late 2008 and since then plunging.
The decline in approval has come among both independents and Democrats. Republicans have never had a high opinion of the governor. But the drop among Dems as well as inds should be worrisome to the reelection staff.
As the story says, this opens an opportunity for the GOP, but it is one they have to find a way to exploit in the campaign, not one they can take for granted. Likewise, the Governor can campaign on handling difficult situations which in 2006 at least the public was willing to accept, even after the very difficult budgets of 2003-2004.
Question: How would you frame the campaign for either Doyle or the GOP? What is the strength for Doyle and what is the weakness for the GOP?