Government and Political News: Polls say the recall race is tighteningWisconsin News
-- A new poll gives Governor Scott Walker a three-point lead over Democrat Tom Barrett going into tomorrow’s recall election.
A new poll gives Governor Scott Walker a three-point lead over Democrat Tom Barrett going into tomorrow’s recall election. That’s slightly less than the 5-to-7-percent advantage the Republican Walker has had in other independent surveys. The Public Policy Polling firm conducted an automated poll of 12-hundred-26 likely voters during the weekend. It gave Walker a 50-to-47 percent lead over Barrett – after the same poll in mid-May gave Walker a 50-to-45 advantage. This poll was not done for any client. Barrett had a slight lead among independents, 48-46, while each party’s voters were solidly behind their candidates. Walker was given a 51-percent approval rating. He led among men, senior citizens, and whites. Barrett had the advantage among young voters and women. Barrett’s campaign says it’s own polling shows the two candidates neck-and-neck.
One of Wisconsin’s biggest June Dairy Month breakfasts had a sign which read, “Please, no political solicitation.” But of course, Wisconsin’s biggest politicians wouldn’t be turned away. Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch were just a few of the big names at yesterday’s Brown County dairy breakfast near De Pere. Over five-thousand people chewed on cheese and the state of Wisconsin’s future after tomorrow’s recall elections. Walker and his Democratic opponent Tom Barrett campaigned within a few yards of each other. Barrett was again with retiring U-S Senator Herb Kohl. And one of the men who hope to replace Kohl, Republican Tommy Thompson, was at the breakfast as well – along with U-S House Republican Reid Ribble. Thompson said Walker would win a “sizable victory” tomorrow, and it would energize Republicans going into the fall contests. Walker said he wondered why President Obama passed on visiting Wisconsin to campaign for Barrett, when he was in neighboring Minnesota last week. Barrett said he was satisfied with the support he got from the national party and former President Bill Clinton. And Barrett said the state’s massive energy would put him over the top. Walker again cited economic accomplishments, and accused Barrett of having no plan. The candidates are criss-crossing the state one final time today.
Despite what some national pundits say, Wisconsin probably won’t be voting for the next president tomorrow, depending on who it chooses in the governor’s recall election. Democratic strategist John Lapp says Republican Governor Scott Walker’s recall contest is quote, “a Wisconsin-specific moment, not a national referendum.” And regardless of whether Democrat Tom Barrett unseats Walker, both parties agree there’s too much time between now and November for both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney not to fight hard to win Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes. Although Obama has not personally appeared with Barrett, his campaign has set up a dozen offices around Wisconsin. And the Walker recall caused them to hit the ground running. An estimated one-third of Wisconsin’s voters are independents, and a recent Marquette poll showed that both the Democratic president and Walker had slight leads in the Badger State. But if Barrett wins, Obama might not be guaranteed a Wisconsin victory if the economy slips between now and November. G-O-P pollster says the public gets frustrated when they see people quote, “take their eye off the economy for politics’ sake.” Walker leads most polls. And if he wins tomorrow, the Romney campaign says they’ll campaign more actively in Wisconsin than it otherwise would have. The state G-O-P says Walker’s campaign offices will start working for Romney as soon as the governor’s election is over. Republicans have not carried Wisconsin in the presidential race since 1984.
A Democratic state lawmaker accuses the attorney general of playing politics by sending criminal investigators to some polling places and not others tomorrow. Republican J-B Van Hollen said Saturday he would send teams to look for vote fraud, because voters need to be confident that their rights are being protected. But Assembly Democrat Jon Richards of Milwaukee says Van Hollen is sending more people to places with high Democratic turnouts – while ignoring places like Washington and Ozaukee counties, which Richards says has some of the highest turnouts in the state. Richards said quote, “Areas with traditionally-high Republican turnout deserve the same level of scrutiny that the Department of Justice is giving areas with traditionally-high Democratic turnout.” The Justice Department has not commented on Richards’ claim. Van Hollen said seven teams would be assigned to Milwaukee with help from the Democratic D-A’s office, and two units would go to the polls in Madison. There will be one team each in Waukesha, Appleton, Green Bay, Eau Claire, La Crosse, the Janesville-Beloit area, and the Racine-Kenosha area.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson fired up Democrats yesterday at a rally in Milwaukee. He called tomorrow’s recall elections a chance to quote, “protect the gains made over the years.” And Jackson had the crowd chanting “Everybody matters. I can vote. I must vote. I will vote.” Union leaders attended the event, as well as elected officials and black, Hispanic, and inner city religious leaders. Milwaukee House Democrat Gwen Moore was also there to encourage folks to elect Tom Barrett in tomorrow’s recall contest for governor. Meanwhile, Republican Governor Scott Walker showed up at his campaign office in Germantown yesterday afternoon. He asked volunteers to spread the news about his record, and said the truth is quote, “the most powerful tool we have to win this election.” Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was also at the event, along with Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. The former Wisconsin G-O-P leader said tomorrow’s vote is about electing people who quote, “know how to make a promise, and keep a promise.” The lieutenant governor’s race is on tomorrow’s ballot separately, along with those of four state senators. A statewide voter turnout of up to 65-percent is expected.
One of the first people charged in the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker’s former Milwaukee County aides will have his final pre-trial hearing today. Tim Russell is scheduled to stand trial in two weeks on three counts of embezzlement. He’s accused of stealing 21-thousand-dollars from an annual Milwaukee County Zoo event that honors Wisconsin’s veterans. Russell is among five former aides-and-associates who served under Governor Scott Walker when he was the Milwaukee County executive. Walker himself has repeatedly denied being a target of the John Doe – and his recall election opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett, has used the probe to raise questions about Walker’s leadership.