Polls show governor's recall race tightWisconsin News
-- The governor’s recall race is extremely tight – and Madison pollster Paul Maslin expects it to stay that way through Election Day on June 5th.
The governor’s recall race is extremely tight – and Madison pollster Paul Maslin expects it to stay that way through Election Day on June 5th.
Maslin, who has done polling for Democrats Kathleen Falk and Tom Barrett, says he’d be shocked if the final margin is more than two-percent either way. He says neither Barrett nor Republican Governor Scott Walker will likely get more than 51-percent of the vote.
A recent Marquette University poll showed that 96-percent of likely voters have decided how they’ll choose. So both parties are digging deeper to try-and-reach the undecided. State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate said 200,000 people who signed the Walker recall petitions did not vote in 2010. And the Democrats hope to draw in as many of those folks as possible. Meanwhile, the state GOP has been busy manning the phones. Party political director Tom Dickens says volunteers have made over two-million calls to voters since January – more than they did in the 2010 elections.
The ramped-up campaign began in earnest yesterday. Tom Barrett was given full support by the three Democrats he defeated in Tuesday’s primary – and he sparred with Walker’s Republican camp over the number of debates they should have. Both agreed to two statewide televised debates May 25th and 31st. Walker spent his day at meetings on manufacturing in Milwaukee, Waunakee, and Black River Falls.
Meanwhile, both candidates and their supporters fired off a new round of TV ads with mostly old allegations. But the Walker camp broke new ground by saying the governor raised spending on health care programs by one-point-two billion dollars over two years. The ad said Walker has provided more health care funding than any Wisconsin governor. But Democrats said the increase was not enough to sustain programs like Badger-Care that have gotten heavier use due to the struggling economy. Thousands of people will either lose their Badger-Care or pay more for it. Barrett spokesman Phil Walzak said Walker’s welcome to debate health care but quote, “I think that debate will be settled very quickly.”
Two Republicans who co-chair the state Legislature’s finance panel have asked Democrat Tom Barrett to explain his financial plans as governor. Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Robin Vos wrote a two-page letter to Barrett – who faces Republican Governor Scott Walker in his June fifth recall election. The lawmakers asked Barrett to outline his fiscal ideas for the state. They also want to know how he would have eliminated the three-point-six billion dollar budget deficit, had he been in Walker’s shoes last year. Barrett campaign spokesman Phil Walzak called the letter a political stunt. He said Walker’s the one who should tell voters why his budget cut education spending, while giving tax breaks to corporations. Late last month, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel said Barrett and second-place Democrat Kathleen Falk did not indicate where they’d get the money to keep their campaign promises. Barrett said nobody knows how much will be needed. And if he’s elected, Barrett said he’d focus on producing more tax revenues by creating jobs – and then work to un-do many of Walker’s spending cuts in the next budget a year from now. The Walker campaign said at the time the Democrats were trying to have it both ways, by slamming the governor’s budget while not offering their own. The governor’s camp said a similar thing today.
Wisconsin’s largest public employee unions say they don’t regret backing a candidate for governor who lost by 24 percentage points in Tuesday’s primary. Democrat Kathleen Falk was supported by the WEAC teachers’ union and AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. And an outside group spent four-million-dollars to support Falk – and most of that was union money. Rick Badger of AFSCME’s Council 40 said it was not a mistake to get behind Falk, despite her 58-34 loss to Tom Barrett on Tuesday. Badger said his union spent quote, “pennies on the dollar” compared the 20-million already spent by Governor Scott Walker to try-and-keep his job in the June fifth recall election. And Badger said his group built up a strong grass-roots system it can use in the next four weeks to try and help Barrett defeat the Republican governor. WEAC president Mary Bell said the teachers’ efforts were helpful for the general election. And while her group supported Falk, Bell said quote, “our main message was what damage Scott Walker has done to the state. And that continues to be the message.” But Bell would not say if the union would run ads for Barrett. And AFSCME is not saying how much it might spend on the general election.