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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Griper Blade: WI Recall Primary Shows Dems with Advantage, But No Room for Complacency

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret wins the recall primary
One of the great joys of following election night on Twitter is watching low-information voters grab onto incomplete sets of data and run wild with them. It's not unusual to see a post declaring a candidate is "killing!" with only three or four percent of the vote in. It really is pretty funny to see.

Following the Wisconsin recall primary last night, I wasn't disappointed -- my favorite election night dumbness ran rampant. For the early part of the night, Gov. Walker had more votes than the entire Democratic field combined. Not extremely surprising, since small rural districts would get their numbers in faster and those districts would be more conservative on average. In the end, Walker did not beat the combined total of his Democratic rivals -- total 670,278 dems to 626,538 Walker -- but I checked before writing this and the "Walker's beating the combined dems!" tweets are still circulating among the wingnuts. As always, the right finds comforting untruths preferable to liberal reality -- and bothering to check your facts just leads to disappointment. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett took the night, but the big news on the right were old, stale, and no longer accurate numbers showing Walker "killing."

That said, the numbers as they are don't tell us a lot. If Walker had beaten the combined dems, then you'd have something to talk about. But the Republican primary was a race between the governor and an old-style La Follette/Roosevelt Republican who stood no chance at all (although he did slaughter the GOP's fake dem, 19,920 to 4,842), so who knows how representative that number will be of the final numbers in the Big Game. We can swap around protest candidate numbers if you like, but I don't think they make much difference -- who votes for those candidates? Does the confuse-the-voter tactic work or do voters cross party lines to cast mischief votes? Probably a little of both, making it impossible to tell where the votes would've gone if the protest candidates hadn't been in the race. Better to leave those numbers where they are and call it close enough...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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