Wisconsin Pro-Life Governor Candidate Scott Walker Leads Big Despite Attacks

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 27, 2010   |   1:39PM   |   Madison, WI

Scott Walker now earns his highest level of support in the Wisconsin governor race despite attacks on his position against making taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely voters in Wisconsin finds the Milwaukee County official with 52% of the vote, while Democrat Tom Barrett , the mayor of Milwaukee, picks up 42% support.

Another two percent like another candidate and two percent remain undecided.

“Two weeks ago, Walker held a 51% to 42% lead over Barrett. Walker has consistently led Barrett in surveys dating back to February, with support ranging from 46% to 52%.  In those same surveys, Barrett’s support has remained in the range of 40% to 44%,” Rasmussen noted.

The lead is so strong that Rasmussen has moved the race to a ranking of “solid Republican” from “leans Republican.”

Walker has come under fire from some scientists who want to “set the record straight” after the issue of embryonic stem cell research became a contentious subject of debate in the governor’s race.

The director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center led a news conference yesterday along with the chief executive officer of a biotech firm called Stemina Biomarker Discovery and members of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The disagree with Walker’s contention that adult stem cell research has better prospects than embryonic because only adult stem cells have helped human patients while embryonic stem cells have yet to find success.

Walker’s campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader sent a statement in response to the news conference saying he is firmly behind supporting adult stem cell research because it does not involve destroying human embryos.

 But, earlier, it was Barrett feeling the heat as he unveiled a television ad that critics said falsely slams Walker on stem cell research.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s PolitiFact web page monitoring campaigns and elections came to the conclusion that Tom Barrett is misleading voters about Walker’s position on stem cell research.

“Of course, we already knew that. But we’re glad that the Journal-Sentinel, hardly a bastion of support for Walker, exercised some intellectual honestly and looked at the facts,” says Sue Armacost of Wisconsin Right to Life.

PolitiFact said: “Democrat Tom Barrett is running a TV ad claiming his opponent for governor, Republican Scott Walker ‘would ban stem cell research in Wisconsin.’”

“In truth, Walker has repeatedly said he supports research involving adult stem cells, but opposes research involving embryonic stem cells. That is a critical distinction in the world of science – and of politics,” the newspaper continued. “Barrett’s ad ignores it, presenting Walker as so extreme on the matter that he is ‘against hope.” We rate Barrett’s claim false.” [related]

Armacost responded saying that Barrett “supports the use of living human embryos for unethical medical experimentation.”

“As distasteful as that is, it really is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Barrett’s complete disregard for the sanctity of human life,” she said, referring to his pro-abortion position.