2010, or 2008? The answer to that question will determine whether Scott Walker survives today’s recall election, as seems likely, or whether Tom Barrett, labor, and Dems pull off a major upset.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert has a good piece today on this dynamic. As he notes, much of the polling on the race, which has showed Walker with a lead of five or more points, has tilted towards a 2010-type electorate; but if turnout tilts even somewhat in the direction of 2008, it helps Dems:
If the electorate Tuesday is as conservative as it was 19 months ago, that will be very good news for Scott Walker. What do the 2012 polls have to say on this subject?
Most statewide surveys this year have captured a very conservative mix of voters — even more conservative than the 2010 electorate in Wisconsin.
Either those polls are true barometers of conservative intensity and are accurately predicting the rightward tilt of the vote Tuesday — or they’re oversampling conservatives and overstating Gov. Walker’s lead...
Turnout is extremely unlikely Tuesday to match the 2008 presidential race, when almost 3 million votes were cast in Wisconsin.
But if turnout is in the very bullish range predicted by state election officials — 2.6 to 2.8 million — that could be good news for Democrats. That’s because the Democratic coalition includes voting groups — minorities, lower-income voters, young voters — that typically turn out at lower rates.
Yesterday’s Public Policy Polling survey bears this out. PPP found Walker ahead by three points, but the poll presumes that Republicans are more enthusiastic about the race than Dems are. The poll also showed Barrett leading among minorities, young voters, and women. So if voting among those groups is boosted by the race’s expected high turnout — and is given an assist by the Dem/labor ground operation — that could help Dems. On the other hand, if turnout is lower, and the assumption that Republicans are more excited about the race bears out, Walker’s lead among men, whites, seniors and Milwaukee suburbanites will enable him to survive.
Here’s how an optimistic Russ Feingold puts it: “If we get anywhere near 2008 or even halfway there, we are going to win, because those folks are more likely to vote for Tom Barrett.” But both sides are hyper engaged, and even if overall turnout does tilt somewhat towards 2008, Republicans will likely turn out at 2010-like rates, diluting whatever advantage Dems would get from higher turnout and helping Walker prevail.
* Obama campaign keeps hitting Romney’s double standard: The Obama campaign is out with a new video message to voters that offers a lengthy debunking of the double standard the Romney campaign uses to judge the two men’s job creation records. “Romney has undercut his core argument against the president by trying to play by two sets of rules,” Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter says in the video.
As noted here yesterday, Obama advisers are now actively pressing the media to hold the Romney campaign accountable for this set of assertions, which news orgs have failed to do, even though they are absolutely central to Romney’s whole case for the presidency. The new video suggests the Obama campaign will keep pressing this issue until it finally breaks through to the press corps — and meanwhile will take the case directly to supporters.
* A debate about the right standard to judge jobs records: The Washington Examiner’s Byron York acknowledges that those of us who have pointed out this double standard have a valid point, and he suggests another metric: compare the change in unemployment rates under both Governor Romney and President Obama. At least York is engaging on this issue. Most are tuning it out completely.
* A recount in Wisconsin? Uh oh:
“We’re very much anticipating that there’s a chance that we could be in a recount scenario,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He said the party will have more than 440 lawyers in the field on Tuesday “doing election protection activities but also tasked with recount preparation, making sure that we know where absentee ballots are at, making sure that we have a strong handle on what’s happening out there.”
* A split decision in Wisconsin? Rachel Weiner teases out what may be the most likely outcome: Walker hangs on, but Dems retake the state senate. If that’s how it turns out, Dems and labor will have invested in two huge recall efforts in order to accomplish the goal set the first time around. But retaking the state senate could help hobble Walker’s agenda.
* Voter supression robocalls in Wisconsin? The Tom Barrett campaign is alleging that a robocall is being pumped into Wisconsin homes telling voters that if they’ve signed the Walker recall petition, their work is done and they don’t have to vote. One anti-Walker voter has now independently confirmed getting the same call.
* Making sense of the events in Wisconsin: Andy Kroll has a creative way of boiling it all down: The 10 numbers you need to know about Wisconsin recall day. The anti-Walker forces are pinning their hopes on this one:
50,000 volunteers signed up for the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin coalition. In the 96 hours before Election Day, that volunteer army knocked on 1.4 million doors throughout the state and made 1.5 million calls to eligible voters.
* Don’t turn your backs on unions: Speaking of Wisconsin, Joe Nocera meditates on the decline of unions, the role that's played in the increase in inequality, and the need for liberals to think about how labor can revamp itself to become an important force again.
* What’s Romney’s position on the Paycheck Fairness Act? With a vote on the measure set for today, Rachel Maddow can’t get the Romney campaign to divulge his position on the measure, beyond saying he’s for pay equity in principle. This, despite the fact that Romney’s central pitch to women is that they haven’t fared well economically under Obama.
* Romney campaign makes pitch for Latino voters: The Romney campaign is out with a new ad that talks about how badly Latinos have fared under the “dismal” Obama economy. The spot is in keeping with the Romney strategy of focusing only on the economy to make inroads among Latinos who have been alienated by his harsh positions on immigration.
* And another day, another misleading ad from Crossroads: The Rove-founded Crossroads GPS is up with the next ad in its big $25 million blitz, this one hammering Obama for “reckless spending” and debt.