In the first Marquette Law School poll of 2014, Governor Walker leaders Democratic candidate Mary Burke 47% to 41%.
That's a wider margin than an October poll which gave Walker a slight 47-45% lead.
"We're confident that voters want to continue moving Wisconsin forward, and have no desire to return to the failed policies of the past," Walker's campaign spokesperson Jonathan Wetzel said in a statement.
The poll found 70% of Wisconsinites still don't know enough about Burke to have an opinion of her.
"I don't think they're worried about that now," Dave Wegge said, a pollster and executive director of the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute. "If this were next summer, they might be worried about it. Frankly not being well-known is something you can buy. That's a purchasing sort of thing."
Of those who do, 12% view her favorably, 18% unfavorably.
"Thirty seven. Forty-five. Forty-eight. Three numbers that matter a lot more to Wisconsin's middle class than polling 281 days before an election," Burke campaign spokesperson Joe Zepecki said in a statement. "This week Governor Walker gave his fourth State of the State address. Here's where Wisconsin stands: 37th in jobs created, 45th in new job prospects, and 48th in new business starts."
As for the governor's job promise, 79% polled believe he won't meet it.
Yet Walker's job approval is at 51%. That's up from a 49% approval in October.
"I think for the walker folks it's going to be continue to do what we're doing because we're making a little bit of progress," Wegge said.
Additionally, 54% believe the state is headed in the right direction.
"I have no idea what the next year will hold," Charles Franklin said, director of the Marquette Law School poll. "But I think these sets of issues hold some things that are good for both sides of the debate and some things that are challenges."
The poll was conducted January 20-23, questioning 802 registered voters in Wisconsin.