Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker held a narrow lead over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in the first poll released publicly since a Democratic primary on Tuesday chose Barrett to face the embattled governor in a recall election.
The poll taken on Wednesday showed that 50 percent of likely voters surveyed would choose Walker and 45 percent would pick Milwaukee Mayor Barrett, according to a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey released on Thursday.
Wisconsin Democrats on Tuesday nominated Barrett to face Walker in the June 5 recall vote, which also has been seen as a test of labor union strength in a potential battleground state for the U.S. presidential election in November.
Walker infuriated Democrats and labor organizations weeks after taking office in 2011 by driving a measure through the Republican-led legislature to curb the collective bargaining powers of public-sector unions.
The law required many employees to pay part of their health insurance and pensions, capped wage increases to inflation and required unions to hold member votes yearly to stay certified.
The proposals set off massive protests at the capitol in Madison.
Walker's opponents submitted more than 900,000 recall petition signatures to the state elections board in January, triggering the recall election.
If he loses, Walker would become only the third U.S. governor to be removed from office by recall election.
Barrett lost the 2010 Wisconsin governor's race to Walker by 5 percentage points.
Rasmussen surveyed 500 likely voters for the survey, which it said had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points and a 95 percent level of confidence. With less than four weeks to the election, only 2 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.
A Marquette Law School poll taken before the primary had Walker and Barrett virtually tied in the recall election.
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