New Celinda Lake Poll Has Race Neck and Neck: Barrett 49, Walker 49

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The Washington Post is reporting that the home stretch sprint will be a photo finish:

A new poll taken by pollster Celinda Lake — who is a Democrat but is well respected by polling professionals — has found that the battle between Scott Walker and challenger Tom Barrett is now deadlocked, at 49 percent each.

The poll — which will be released later today and was comissioned by the pro-labor Greater Wisconsin Committee’s political fund — also finds that independents are breaking towards Barrett, 49-44.

The poll is an automated one (which means it doesn’t include cell phones) that surveyed 600 likely Wisconsin voters from May 24-28, which means it was in the field until Monday of this week. Its sample: 43 percent Democrats and Dem-leaners; 43 percent Republican and GOP-leaners; and 13 percent non-leaning independents.

I would also add that I have heard from good sources that Walker's internal numbers are also showing a dead heat. (And if they were showing Walker with a lead, we know damn well he would have released them by now.)

The most ominous sign for Walker is that this is the third poll in a row to show him losing independents -- a group he won in 2010 by a 56 to 42% margin!  It is simply impossible for Walker to lose independents and win the recall election-- regardless of what the the rightwing "pollsters" tell you.

I'd also add that like the other internal polls that have been released, they are unrealistically conservative-- literally.  For example, this poll projects the turn out for the recall will be 43% Dem, 43% GOP and 13% Independent. That isn't Wisconsin's electorate. Even in the Tea Party wave year of 2010, the break down was 37% Dem, 36% GOP and 27% Independent.  If we average the last three elections the breakdown, according to exit polls, the make-up of the Wisconsin electorate is 38.3% Dem, 34.3% GOP and 27.7% independent.

At this point in the horse race, with about five yards to go, Barrett is (at a minimum) dead even, but clearly running faster than Walker. Therefore, I feel confident in saying that the momentum is with Barrett and that he definitely is in a better position to win this than Walker.