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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Griper Blade: In Recall Race, Wisconsinites Just Want to Win

Wisconsin recall
A lot of the commentary on the Wisconsin recall primary seems to be leading to a consensus; that this was a big loss for unions. "It was a very bad night for WEAC and AFSCME," Mark Graul, a GOP political consultant, said. "When a union-backed candidate loses by 20 points in a Democratic primary, you have to question what sway the unions now have, not only in politics, but with their own members."

And other, less partisan observers agree. That Tom Barrett, who didn't have major backing from labor, so soundly beat Kathleen Falk, who did, shows that labor's backing didn't have a lot of influence on voters. Or, if it did, that influence wasn't positive. "This was a major overreach by unions and, frankly, it makes organized labor as a political force look almost like an empty suit," said UW political scientist Mordecai Lee.

I think this overlooks what has become sort of a theme in this recall cycle -- money and ads don't really matter. For example, a recent Gannett investigation found that 78% of all political ad spending in Wisconsin this season has benefited Republicans, yet all this spending has had zero effect on polling numbers. Walker's numbers haven't budged. One explanation (the one I subscribe to) is that the state is so polarized that changing minds is a lost cause -- and that everyone's mind is made up. There are almost no undecideds. The fact that Walker's ad spending hasn't bumped up the needle suggests he may have reached a very uncomfortable ceiling of less than 50%. Or worse, his numbers seem to be declining...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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