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Scott Walker: Wisconsin has buyer's remorse

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker gives his big budget address today in Madison, where he's expected to defend not just trying to neuter public employee unions, but also slashing funding for public education and local communities.

The speech comes as a new poll suggests Wisconsin voters want their money back.

Public Policy Polling asked voters there whether, if they could have a do-over, they would pick Walker. Respondents also expressed majority support for the state's unions and disapproval of Scott's job performance. They were split on whether state Senate Democrats should have left the state to protest Walker's union-busting gambit and prevent quorum and a vote on the measure.

The answer was a pretty convincing "no."

Defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett beat Walker by a 52-45 margin.

An exerpt from the PPP poll. More here.
An exerpt from the PPP poll. More here.

Also today, a New York Times/CBS News poll shows that Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by 60 percent to 33 percent, and also oppose cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits -- the central etenet of Walker's efforts.

On Monday, a Pew Research Center poll found 42 percent of Americans sided with the unions and 31 percent sided with Walker.

Last week, a Gallup poll showed that most Americans -- 61 percent -- opposed Walker's union-busting efforts as well, and 53 percent opposed reducing pay or benefits for government workers.

PPP attributes the shift in attitudes to households with union members. Barrett won that group in this new poll by a 31-point margin, compared to 14-point advantage they gave him in November.

Republican union members were also key. PPP says 3 percent of Republican union members voted for Barrett in November, but the new poll shows that 10 percent would vote for him now if they could do it all over again.

But Scott's supporters say the only poll that really matters was the one that took place on Election Day; PPP analyst Tom Jensen says too many Democrats sat out the 2010 cycle and gave Walker the edge.

Now they get to watch him wield his budget-cutting sword, supported by a GOP-controlled Assembly.

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