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walker book

Gov. Scott Walker's book, Unintimidated, hit the shelves on Nov. 19.

Gov. Scott Walker's new book, “Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge,” is getting beat up by reviewers on Amazon.

As a couple bloggers — one a Walker critic, the other a Walker fan — have already noted, the negative customer reviews on the mega-retail site far outnumber the positive ones. As of Wednesday afternoon, 140 reviewers gave the book one star and 51 had given it five stars.

Perhaps telling of Walker's reputation as governor, hardly anyone is on the fence about the book. Only seven reviewers, combined, awarded the book two, three or four stars.

As a result, “Unintimidated” has an average rating of two stars.

Any book written by a politician is going to attract some detractors from the other side of the aisle, but the naysayers are typically overwhelmed by the politician's fans, who define the tone of the reviews.

For instance, Barack Obama's pre-presidential book, “The Audacity of Hope,” earns an average of four stars. The great majority of reviewers assign the book either four or five stars, despite a sizable minority of one star reviews.

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The books John McCain published before his two presidential candidacies also received four-star averages. So did Mitt Romney's “No Apology: The case for American Greatness.” The pattern in all these cases is similar — a large number of five-star reviews and a much smaller number of one-star reviews that pull the average rating down to four stars.

What is apparent from the comments on "Unintimidated" is that many of the reviews come from people who haven't read the book and do not take reviewing books seriously. Many have never reviewed any other book or product on Amazon, indicating they went through the process of creating a username just to bash the polarizing governor.

While the zeal with which the governor's critics rushed online to diss his book may demonstrate that he will never achieve the level of popularity that, for instance, former Gov. Tommy Thompson once enjoyed, it is perhaps the small number of reviewers who gave Walker's book two, three or four stars that say more about his political future. It's that tiny group of independent voters in the middle, who like some things about Walker but not others, whose votes will determine whether he wins re-election and is able to make a serious run for president.

Jack Craver is the Capital Times political reporter, focusing on elections, candidates and campaign finance.