Fifteen months ago, it seemed like a lock that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be walked out of his office in Madison. What a difference a year makes.
Walker, a Republican, is now comfortably ahead in most polls regarding his upcoming recall election. According to the most recent polling average compiled by the political Web site RealClearPolitics, Walker is ahead of his Democratic opponent by 6.4 percentage points - outside of the margin of error. The polling average ended on Wednesday.
Walker has always been ahead, but his lead over Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has never ebbed, and he has seemingly survived a controversy over felonious acts by his aides and donors. As a conservative in a historically progressive state, his political fortunes are seemingly intact.
The election isn't until Tuesday, but Wisconsin voters' minds seem made up. Even a super-sized poll - 1,400 likely voters, conducted by WeAskAmerica on Wednesday -- found Walker ahead by 12 points.
Why? Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University in Washington, D.C, says Barrett's forces focused too strongly on union issues - Walker moved to end collective-bargaining rights in the state in 2010 -- and voters may be tired of a re-run, as Walker and Barrett already ran against each other in 2010.
"It's not over. No one knows yet," Gans told RTT News. "And we're a year or so away from the commission of the crime. My judgment is the recall forces have focused a little too narrowly on the issue of unions. They would have been better to focus more on procedure, and how high-handed Walker was. That has resonance beyond a liberal, Democratic community.
He added, "The critical question is whether the opposition has focused on the right set of issues, and I'm not sure that they have."
Walker attracted national headlines when he moved to end collective-bargaining in 2010, but he can also claim credit for balancing the books of the state. In recent media interviews, he has used cited the budget as the reason for his polling lead over Barrett.
"(Democrats) don't talk about the reforms anymore because the reforms are working," Walker told Fox News. "They've had more than a billion dollars' worth of saving, they're lowered property taxes. The budget was a next issue they talked about. The budget now has a $154 million surplus, and that's been documented as well."
by RTT Staff Writer
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