Wisconsin Tightening?

We’ll know the outcome soon enough, but for progressives distressed at the steadly lead Scott Walker seems to have built, on a foundation of out-of-state money, for his campaign to survive recall, a last-minute Public Policy Polling survey showing the race tightening is a good tonic.

PPP had Walker up 50-45 three weeks ago, but now shows his lead at 50-47. And that narrow lead is based on a Republican “enthusiasm” edge:

[Tom] Barrett is actually winning independent voters by a 48-46 margin. The reason he continues to trail overall is that Republicans are more excited about voting in Tuesday’s election than Democrats are.

Our projected electorate voted for Barack Obama by only 7 points, even though he took the state by 14 in 2008. If the folks who turn out on Tuesday actually matched the 2008 electorate, Barrett would be ahead of Walker by a 50-49 margin. It’s cliche but this is a
race that really is going to completely come down to turnout.

Since the one purported advantage of the heavily outspent recall forces is its get-out-the-vote effort, that could be an indicator of a possible upset.

I’ll have more to say later today about the money situation in Wisconsin, which is a bit difficult to unravel thanks to the special rules of the recall election and the chaos created by Citizens United. But I’ll leave you with this one graph from a Center for Public Integrity report at Huffpost:

Through April, Walker’s top three donors combined gave more than challenger Barrett’s campaign had raised overall. Four of Walker’s top seven donors are out-of-state billionaires, including AmWay founder and former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos, and casino magnate Adelson, who each gave $250,000.


Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.