Barone’s Wisconsin GOP Recall Post-Mortem
The always-analytical Michael Barone looks at the results from the 6 elections to recall GOP state senators in Wisconsin, and runs some numbers. Here’s what he sees:
My conclusion: these results show Republicans about as strong as they were in 2010, when Republican Scott Walker was elected governor by a 52%-46% margin, and they show Democrats weaker than they were in 2008, when Barack Obama carried Wisconsin 56%-42%. That was my conclusion as well when I compared Barack Obama’s 2011 Gallup job approval in the 50 states with the popular vote for the House in 2010.
Barone points to two other analyses, one by David Freddoso, who writes:
In the end, the union-backed Democrats picked up only two state Senate seats in Wisconsin last night, at a staggering cost in time, effort, and of course money. One of the seats was solidly Democratic, held by a Republican due to an apparent fluke of nature. The other was held by an alleged adulterer who had moved outside his district to live with his young mistress, and whose wife was supporting his recall.
As for the other four Republican incumbents the unions tried to recall, they didn’t end up coming very close. And remember — these weren’t just any Republican incumbents. These were the ones that the unions judged most vulnerable, which is why they collected petition signatures against them.
The other, by Real Clear Politics author Sean Trende, says:
The Democratic game plan in Wisconsin was a simple one. Step 1: Harness the energy from the protests that erupted in the wake of the Republican legislature’s attempt to limit the collective bargaining power of labor unions, and defeat Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. Step 2: Ride the momentum from that victory into a set of summer recall elections, taking back control of the state Senate. Step 3: Successfully recall Gov. Scott Walker sometime in early 2012. This would send a plain message to GOP governors and legislators across the Rust Belt: Don’t mess with labor unions.
Democrats stumbled with Step 1, when Prosser narrowly won re-election to his seat. Last night, they failed at Step 2, winning only two Senate races (they needed three to claim control of the chamber). This casts serious doubt on whether success in Step 3 is feasible.
No matter how you slice it, this was a failure for the Democrats and their union
moneybags… er… supporters.
It’s not over yet, next Tuesday two Democratic state senators face recall elections of their own… so it’s possible that the gains they just made could be reversed… not that it matters much, since the bottom line is that the GOP still holds the Wisconsin Senate.