Republicans hoping for a one-two punch against Democrats and President Obama this month landed their first punch last night. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) survived the recall challenge against him. But last night’s vote wasn’t exactly a knockout.
Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) last night with almost the same vote spread as he did when they first faced off in 2010. Then, it was 52.25 percent for Walker and 46.48 percent for Barrett. Last night, Walker won 53.2 percent of the vote and Barrett took 46.3 percent of the vote. So, yes, Walker is the clear winner here. Not so much the GOP and its effort to make Wisconsin a bellwether for November.
As Harold Meyerson wrote last night, the same people who voted to keep Walker also favor President Obama over Mitt Romney (52 percent to 43 percent). Also noteworthy, 60 percent of Wisconsin voters told exit pollsters that they thought recall efforts should be done for malfeasance, not disagreements over policy. This helps explain how voters could cast a vote to keep Walker and express support for Obama.
The second punch awaited by Republicans will come this month when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the health-care law. Major Garrett calls these two events “The June Swoon,” and he sketches out what they might mean. As his National Journal piece suggests, it is anybody’s guess how the justices will rule. The Obama administration is confident it will prevail. Republicans and conservatives who view the law as government overreach are equally confident. But there is a distinct possibility that we could be looking at another punch that isn’t exactly a knockout for either side.