Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a news conference inside the Wisconsin… (Eric Thayer / Getty Images )
Reporting from Washington — As Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker prepares to make his case to the public, a new poll commissioned by his union adversaries finds state voters are not fully embracing his proposals to balance the state's books, including stripping state workers of collecting bargaining rights.
Walker's office announced Monday night that the governor "will directly address the residents of Wisconsin" Tuesday night in a live address — which it is calling a "Fireside Chat," an homage to the Depression-era radio addresses from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Walker plans "to discuss our current fiscal year challenges, the divisions which have arisen over the past week and his positive vision for moving Wisconsin forward," his office says.
The governor has also appeared on national television to defend his proposals.
"If I have to choose between the demands of a few unions leaders, particularly those leaders from outside of Wisconsin, or standing with the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin, I'm going to stand with the taxpayers," the Republican governor said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, labor demonstrations continue in the state capital of Madison, and Democratic state senators continue their refuge outside the state as they seek to block Republicans from bringing Walker's proposals to a vote.
In the battle for public opinion, the AFL-CIO released a poll from the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner that shows Walker with an approval rating of 44%, with 50% disapproving of his job performance after just more than a month in office.
Asked about Walker and state Repulicans' agenda, 43% of voters say they are in favor while 53% oppose. The poll asked about specific portions of the governor's proposed legislation, and less than a third of voters favor eliminating state workers' collective bargaining rights and reducing wages for public employees.
"Since the protests began, Governor Walker has seen real erosion in his standing," a polling memo states.
The survey of 603 Wisconsin residents was conducted from Feb. 16-20, and the sample included slightly more Democrats than Republicans.
The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is launching a new ad statewide featuring a local firefighter expressing solidarity with state employees.
"We stand together, or we fall together. And we're asking the people of Wisconsin to stand with us," he says in the advertisement.