Tuesday, November 22, 2011

History, polls not on Walker's side

Graphic courtesy Tracy Knauss
(UPDATES with new signature numbers.)

The campaign to recall Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker is off to a brilliant start with more than 105,000 158,000 signatures collected and as many as 40,000 people showing up for the kick-off rally in Madison.

What will happen is anyone's guess. Walker has plenty of advantages: the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers and their ilk will open their wallets for him; his party controls the state's election machinery; and he doesn't face an opponent -- yet.

However, history and the polls are not on his side. Political scientist David Schecter points out that incumbents have lost recall elections under similar circumstances. He cites the 2003 recall of California Gov. Gray Davis and the 1921 recall of North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier. Schecter argues that the conditions leading to the recalls of Davis and Frazier are similar to those in Wisconsin today. They include:
  • A divided electorate and a governor who didn't try to heal wounds
  • Questions about the incumbent's standing, stature, competency and truthfulness during difficult economic times
  • An organized and well-defined opposition
  • An interested media
  • A contentious legal environment.
The polls are also against Walker. Badger Democracy reports that a recent survey shows 58 percent of respondents would remove Walker from office while only 38 percent would keep him in.
Scott Walker’s approval rating has dropped since April – from 46% down to 38%; with his disapproval rating jumping from 48% to 58%. More telling, the 18%, ultra right-wing conservative “strongly approve” rating is unchanged. What has changed, is he has lost 8% in the “approve” column – indicating a loss of moderate Republicans. 
The lousy economy is hurting Walker as well. Despite his claim that his "reforms" are "working," Wisconsin's unemployment rate has been rising faster than the nation's since he took office.

But -- and it's a big but -- Walker will get a ton of money from the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers. WUWM reports he will be able to
...raise and spend unlimited amounts from contributors not only until the January 17th deadline for collecting signatures, but also during the 30 days state officials might need to review the petitions and during any court challenges.
Already, the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers are opening their wallets for Walker through their Americans for Iranian Prosperity Foundation and the MacIver Institute. The Green Bay Press Gazette reports they've already spent more than $500,000 in an ad buy.

And United Wisconsin reports on early electoral shenanigans, including:
A Republican state senator who is closed allied with the governor sought to tighten requirements for notarizing recall petitions in a way that would have made it much harder for citizens to circulate and certify petitions....
The Republican Party of Wisconsin has launched a so-called “Recall Integrity Center,” which seems to encourage intimidation of Wisconsinites gathering recall petition signatures.
As Schecter says,
Welcome to the world of gubernatorial recalls, Wisconsin. It could be a bumpy ride.