- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker’s approval rating reached the lowest of his time in office after he exited the presidential race last week, a new poll released Wednesday showed.

Walker’s approval rating was 37 percent, down from the previous record worst 39 percent in August, according to the Marquette University Law School poll. The survey of 803 registered voters in Wisconsin was done between Sept. 24, just three days after Walker quit, and Monday. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

The Republican unofficially ran for president all year, but formally launched his campaign July 13. Ten weeks later, he abruptly quit the race because fundraising was drying up and his support among voters in early-voting states precipitously dropped.

Walker vowed in the days after giving up his presidential aspirations that he would refocus on the governorship and travel around the state more extensively than he had been doing. His official calendar for July showed that in the two weeks after launching his presidential campaign, Walker was in Wisconsin just one day for state business and a second day to attend the funeral of a Marine.

Speaking to reporters last week, Walker said his strategy between now and when his term ends in 2018 was to “be there” and travel around Wisconsin talking about state issues.

The governor’s top priority, Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said Wednesday after the poll was released, is “making sure everyone has access to good-paying, family-supporting jobs.”

“He will continue to push positive reforms focused on improving state government, growing our economy, and developing our workforce as we move Wisconsin forward,” she said.

Since Sept. 21, Walker has expressed strong support for a Republican-backed measure in the Legislature to rewrite the state’s 110-year-old civil service system that covers rules of employment for 30,000 state workers. The changes would make it easier to hire and fire state employees, a move that’s reigniting anger among Democrats and unions who have long clashed with Walker over labor issues.

Walker also said he was not interested in taking a Cabinet position and is undecided about seeking a third term.

The poll found that 62 percent of respondents do not want Walker to seek a third term, while 35 percent said they would back it. Among Republicans only, 79 percent said they’d like to see him run.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said at a news conference Wednesday just before the approval rating was released that Walker’s numbers are shrinking because the public is “fed up” with Republicans.

With Walker out of the presidential race, the poll showed 20 percent of Wisconsin Republicans favor Donald Trump for president, followed by Ben Carson with 16 percent and Marco Rubio with 14 percent. Carly Fiorina was next at 11 percent followed by Jeb Bush at 7 percent and Rand Paul at 5 percent. On the Democratic side, Hillary Rodham Clinton was ahead with 42 percent followed by Bernie Sanders at 30 percent and Joe Biden, who hasn’t announced a run, with 17 percent.

The questions about partisan preferences for president had smaller sample sizes and larger margins of error - 6.5 percentage points for Republicans, 5.9 percentage points for Democrats.

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Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP


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