(CNN) – With six days to go until the recall election of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a new poll indicates that the Republican governor holds a seven point advantage over his Democratic challenger.
According to a Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday, 52% of people likely to vote in Wisconsin's June 5 election say they back Walker, with 45% saying they support Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger. Barrett won his party's primary earlier this month, setting up a rematch with Walker from the 2010 election, that Walker won by five points.
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The Marquette Law School survey is the third non-partisan poll released over the past week to indicate Walker with a single digit margin over Barrett.
Republican Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also faces a recall election. The poll indicates she holds a 46%-41% advantage in the new survey over Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin President Mahlon Mitchell, the Democratic challenger.
Walker set off a firestorm in January 2010 when he moved to curtail the collective bargaining rights of most Wisconsin state employees.
With majorities in both houses of the legislature, Walker and his GOP allies voted to limit raises for public employees except police and firefighters to the rate of inflation, bar unions from deducting dues from workers' paychecks and force them to hold a new certification vote every year. That bill was signed into law in March 2011, following weeks of protests at the state capitol building in Madison.
Republicans insisted it was necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and close the budget shortfall. Democrats argued it was an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies.
The public demonstrations all but shut down the Wisconsin state legislature for weeks. It also drew protesters by the tens of thousands, among them union supporters and public employees, who called the measure an attack on workers. A group of Democratic lawmakers left the state for some time in an effort to not allow a quorum for a vote.
The state Supreme Court upheld the controversial law in June, but the battle sparked a storm of political activism that led to the recall effort. The election was scheduled earlier this year, after more than 900,000 signatures petitioning for a recall of the first-term governor were collected.
This is first time in Wisconsin's history that a governor has faced recall. There have only been two successful gubernatorial recalls in the nation's history: California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921.
Besides the firestorm over collective bargaining, jobs have become another big issue in the recall election. By a 50%-43% margin, Wisconsin voters say that Walker rather than Barrett would do a better job creating jobs.
The survey also indicates that Wisconsin voters remain divided on the job Walker's doing in office, but his 51% favorable rating is ten points higher than Barrett's 41% favorable rating.
The poll also suggests Republicans are slightly more energized, with 92% of Republicans questioned saying they're "absolutely certain" they'll vote, compared to just 77% for Democrats questioned in the poll.
Big bucks are being raised and spent in the recall effort. Both tea party groups and other grassroots and fiscal conservative organizations on the right, and labor groups and progressive organizations on the left, as well as the campaigns and Democratic and Republican party committees, have been pouring in money to build up get out the vote efforts, and to put up TV commercials.
According to Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ad spending, Republican groups have out spent Democratic groups when it comes to ad buys by a more than two to one margin over the past two weeks.
The Marquette Law School poll was conducted May 23-27, with 600 likely Wisconsin recall election voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.