Saturday, October 1st, 2016

If the Democrats weren’t pushing recalls, they would have a better shot at the senate

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Kevin Binversie took a longer view at the Daily Kos poll numbers in the Wisconsin Senate districts that are up for recall. The news isn’t good for Democrats.

The only close race so far is in Racine, the rematch between former Senator John Lehman (D) (46%) and current Senator Van Wang­gaard (R) (48%). This isn’t surprising when you consider the modern recall frenzy began when Republican Senator George Petak was recalled in 1996 and replaced by liberal Democratic Senator Kim Plache. Such was the thinking of Racine residents that they preferred a Democrat who would vote to raise taxes a lot over a Republican who voted to raise taxes a tiny bit because Racine residents hate taxes. Go figure.

What’s really interesting is what is happening in the 29th senate district. The race is for an open seat because Senator Pam Galloway resigned for family care reasons. This would normally shove this race into the toss-up category. Instead, the Republican candidate, Jerry Petrowski is leading 51-37 over the Democrat, Donna Seidel. The “War on Women” theme doesn’t seem to be helping Seidel, either, as she is losing among women 50-38.

Walker’s approval rating in the district is 60-39, so that is probably contributing to Petrowski’s lead. Walker is beating Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the district 59-36 and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk by the same margin.

The district is evenly split between McCain voters and Obama voters, and Romney leads Obama in the district 48-44.

What would have been a really interesting question for the pollsters to ask is how the respondents feel about recall elections. The pollster provided Daily Kos with this interesting tidbit:

One thing we saw in all these state senate polls is a much more GOP-friendly electorate than 2008. That suggests to me that Democratic voters are suffering from recall fatigue— this has been going on for so long and we are now so far removed from the protests in early 2011 that the passion Democratic voters have for coming out and removing these folks from office just isn’t what it was a year ago. It’s possible those folks could be reenergized by the campaign over the next couple months but right now Democratic interest in these elections isn’t what it needs to be.

The pollster also suggests that because of opposition to recalls in general, Democrats really need to have 54% to 55% of the electorate unhappy with the incumbent for a successful recall election.

Van Wanggaard’s approval/disapproval is at 47-45, a number the pollster suggests make it difficult to recall the senator. However, had there not been any recalls, the open seat in the 29th senate district might have been a much easier pick up for Democrats. Instead, that race is now tied to the recall movement, and it seems (right now) Democrats are going to miss that pick-up opportunity, and possibly miss taking back control of the state senate.

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