One number shows why Donald Trump is making a very risky gamble in Wisconsin

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Cruz Campaign Director Confident of Wisconsin Win

Mere hours after Scott Walker endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump ripped into the Wisconsin governor Tuesday, homing in on a target typically attacked by liberal Democrats.

"He's not doing a great job," Trump said in Janesville, Wisconsin, ticking off the state's unemployment figures, budget deficit and food stamp recipients -- reprising some of the same criticism he leveled during Walker's short-lived presidential bid last year.

READ MORE: Demonstrators Converge on Janesville, Wisconsin Ahead of Donald Trump's Event

With Wisconsin's budget woes forcing deep cuts in education programs and the state reeling from a divisive debate over Walker's decision to sign legislation last year further gutting labor union power, Trump's target is a seemingly soft one.

In a Marquette University poll conducted in February, the governor's approval rating stood at just 39%, with 55% disapproving of his job performance.

Check out a recent anti-Trump rally that popped up in Wisconsin:

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One number shows why Donald Trump is making a very risky gamble in Wisconsin
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: Anti-Trump protesters gather in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: A Trump supporter debates with anti-Trump protesters in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wait for the start of a campaign rally at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Donald Trump protesters argue with a supporter outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, prior to a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest the scheduled appearance of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center . (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Donald Trump protesters hold a sign outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's scheduled appearance. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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But another figure underscores the risky gamble Trump is making in inveighing so heavily against Walker: 85%.

That's the percentage of Republicans who approved of Walker's job performance in the Marquette poll, and Walker's overwhelmingly popularity with GOP voters could prove a major hurdle for Trump -- and a boon to Cruz -- ahead of Wisconsin's April 5 primary.

Of course, Trump's withering attacks on his GOP opponents have eviscerated everyone from low-polling rivals like Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham to erstwhile juggernauts Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. It's not inconceivable that, in targeting Walker, Trump may force the governor's numbers downward among Republican voters -- and hitting Walker on unemployment, budget deficits and food stamps may well undercut his appeal among fiscal conservatives.

But Trump isn't jabbing at Walker exclusively from the right. In an interview with Illinois radio's The Michael Koolidge Show on Tuesday, Trump slammed the governor for pursuing budget cuts instead of tax increases, arguing that revenue hikes could have forestalled slashes to education and infrastructure programs.

SEE ALSO: These rumored VP picks for Hillary could make or break her chances

"There's a $2.2 billion deficit and the schools were going begging and everything was going begging because he didn't want to raise taxes because he was going to run for president," Trump said in remarks quoted by the Guardian. "So instead of raising taxes, he cut back on schools, he cut back on highways, he cut back on a lot of things."

Deviating from conservative orthodoxy, however, hasn't prevented Trump from building a massive delegate lead over his GOP rivals, and it remains unclear whether Wisconsin Republicans are hungrier for a candidate who fashions himself a model of conservative purity, à la Cruz, or one whose pugnacious attitude channels their anti-establishment rage.

SEE MORE: Trump drops pledge to back Republican presidential nominee other than himself

At any rate, Trump has little margin for error. Polls show the race in Wisconsin is a pure toss-up, with the RealClearPolitics average finding Cruz at 33%, Trump at 32% and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio at 23%.

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