New Marquette Law School Poll results

(CNN) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a slight edge over his Democratic opponent in the state's 2014 gubernatorial contest, according to a new Badger State survey.


The Marquette Law School poll released Monday indicates 47% of Wisconsin voters would reelect Walker compared to the 41% who said they would back challenger Mary Burke.


A notable conservative and possible 2016 White House hopeful, Walker has refused to commit to serving out a full, four-year term as governor if reelected later this year.


Monday's survey shows Walker's advantage widening since October, when a Marquette poll showed Walker at 47% to Burke's 45%.


The poll also shows a majority of voters aren't familiar enough with Burke to form an opinion.


\"As the campaign ramps up, as advertising begins to flow, voters will come to know who she is and that will be part of the battle to define her over the course of the spring, summer, and fall campaigns\" said Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin.


Days after Walker's State of the State address in Madison, the survey shows over 50% of voters think the state is headed in the right direction while 40% said it's on the wrong track. Monday's results indicate sentiment has not changed drastically since last time the question was asked, two weeks before a recall election in June 2012, when 52% of respondents said the state was headed in a good direction and 44% said it was not.


The survey was conducted almost entirely before Walker's address to the Badger state last week, where he announced a larger than expected budget surplus in the state.


Forty-nine percent said the state's budget is in better shape than it was a few years ago, 26% said it's the same and 20% said it's worse than before.


Walker, first elected in 2010, gained national notoriety from conservatives after surviving the recall effort sparked by a budget-balancing initiative that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public unions. After an over year-long battle within the state, Walker beat Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, 53% to 46%.


Walker is the first governor to survive a recall.


The poll was conducted between January 20-23 among 802 registered Wisconsin voters with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. 

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