Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wisconsin Recall Election

I had been meaning to comment on this race for days, but life intervened.   The race certainly gave a reason to listen to 88.5 KPLU instead of CBC Radio One or CFAX in my truck

Yes, the people in Wisconsin managed to get the signatures for the recall but what they forgot is that a million people voted in 2010 for Tom Barrett the Democratic candidate.   These people were already opposed to Scott Walker and would have signed a recall petition.

The polling in the race had shown an average 7 percentage point lead for Walker for the last three weeks.

Candidate                  2010             2012  
Republican Scott Walker 1,128,941 52.3% 1,331,076 53.2%
Democrat Tom Barrett    1,004,303 46.5% 1,158,337 46.3%

I do not understand why the Democrats ran the same candidate, rarely a good decision in politics.  The recall election did see a significant rise in total votes but but both sides gained more or less evenly.

The re-election of Walker certainly sends him the message that his agenda is supported by the people and will likely make life only that much more difficult for the public sector unions in the state.

If you look back over the 34 years in Wisconsin, the state the Republicans have done better than the Democrats when electing governors.  

Year total vote Democrat  Republican Other             
2012 2,503,745  1,158,337 1,331,076
2010 2,158,974  1,004,303 1,128,941
2006 2,159,251  1,139,115   979,427
2002 1,775,349    800,971   734,779  185,455 Libertarian with 10.5%
1998 1,756,014    679,553 1,047,716
1994 1,563,835    482,850 1,051,326
1990 1,379,727    576,280   801,321
1986 1,526,572    705,578   805,090
1982 1,580,090    896,872   662,738
1978 1,500,804    673,813   816,056

Looking at the these numbers, the odds of a recall election bringing in a Democrat would not seem to have been good.

The gubernatorial race result was also held at the same time as four recall elections for Wisconsin State Senators.   The four recalled State Senators were all Republicans and it looks like the Democrats may have won one of those races which would give the Democrats a 17 to 16 majority in the State Senate.   Maybe the real goal of the whole process was to gain control of the State Senate.

After the 2010 election the Republicans had a 19 to 14 majority.  The Democrats gained two seats in recalls last year which left the State Senate at 17 Republicans and 16 Democrats.

By having a majority in the State Senate, the Democrats now have one avenue to current the power of Governor Scott Walker.

Using recall to effectively force early elections is only going to make politics in the US even more expensive. There will be on going campaigns to recall people so that the election can be fought all over again.   The spending in the recall elections has been higher than the spending in the 2010 election cycle.


Ted Godwin said...

No comment on the obscene out-of-state spending gap between the two?

Bernard said...

No comment because I do not know how much money was actually raised and spent and how it was spent.

I also do not know how much of the money was spent before the election during the recall petition. I do know he seems to have raised about $8 million during the recall petition, but I do not know what he has spent though it seems to have been a lot. Overall both sides spent close to $25 million in the petition process of which I think $10 million was for the recall side.

Finally, how effective has campaign spending been? I am not in Wisconsin, but what I can read about his campaign in 2010 and since, smart and effective spending does not seem to be part of it.

For all his spending, the final results are not much different than they were in 2010 and really not much different than the polling has shown through the whole process.