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Monday, November 21, 2011

Facing Recall, Gov. Scott Walker Isn't Finding Much Support

Last week, Wisconsin officially kicked off our effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker. Saying that effort is off to a good start would be a bit of an understatement.

Talking Points Memo:

Wisconsin Democrats, after last week’s official launch of the campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker, made a major show of strength over the weekend.

United Wisconsin, the group managing the recall, announced on Saturday that during the first four days of the effort — from Tuesday through Friday -- they had brought in 105,000 signatures, nearly a fifth of the threshold they must legally meet: 540,208 signatures in a 60-day window.

"There are, of course, two important caveats," warns TPM's Eric Kleefeld, "First, after months of build-up to the recall campaign, it is natural that there would be an initial rush to sign in the first few days. Second, the Dems will have to gather even more than 540,208 signatures in real terms -- for a buffer that campaigns routinely collect in order to protect against signatures being disqualified over one imperfection or another."


Personally, I'd say the odds of the petition failing are extremely low. In his short time as governor, Walker has managed to make himself unpopular. A recent St. Norbert's College/Wisconsin Public Radio poll found that 58% of Wisconsinites support the recall, with only 38% opposed. That poll is a departure from other polling. But even if it's an outlier, things don't look good for Walker -- other polls show the public split, which means that there are more than enough supporters.

And those supporters are active.

Wisconsin State Journal:

Tens of thousands gathered Saturday at the state Capitol in support of the ongoing effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, the largest such rally since the historic month-long protests over collective bargaining ended in March.

State Department of Administration officials estimate 25,000 to 30,000 people filled the square, marching through the cold drizzle, holding signs and chanting seemingly every possible derivation of "Recall Walker."


A group of about 50 Walker supporters made a brief appearance. They weaved through a collection of teachers, students and organized labor officials unified in their desire to remove Walker from office.

By the time I got there, the pro-Walker people were gone. There was absolutely no sign of them anywhere. It was just one big block of anti-Walker protesters and the gathering had the feel of a celebration or a street fair. I know this is a liberal city, but the fact that Walker could only scare up 50 not-so-die-hard supporters to show up does not bode well for his future. Walker's approval ratings are low and he doesn't have a lot of passionate defenders.

Which means that, even if they don't support the recall, they aren't all that interested in it. Walker's going to have to do what Republicans nationwide have had to resort to -- hiring people to do the legwork, because they can't find volunteers. He may have a headstart on fundraising, but he's going to wind up blowing a lot of it. Already, he's making unwise campaign choices, like buying airtime for "don't sign the petition" ads in Madison -- a complete waste of money. This is not the action of a confident man, this is the action of a man who knows he's going to need every vote he can get.

"[T]he people of Wisconsin are on to him," writes John Nichols. "Democrats want him out. Independents want him out. In fact, more than 20 percent of Republicans now say they want to see Walker recalled."

Worse, he seems to be having a hard time finding people who are passionate about keeping him in.


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