Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Romp or recount in recall


Brace yourself. Here’s hoping that Kevin Binversie is right and that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s release of internal poll numbers without any poll internals is a desperate move.

Kristen Soltis, director of policy research and pollster for the Washington, D.C.-based Winston Group and contributor to the Huffington Post’s Pollster.com, defended the Barrett campaign and We Are Wisconsin pollsters. She called Stan Greenberg and Fred Yang — pollsters for We Are Wisconsin and the Barrett Campaign, respectively — “very good pollsters who have rock-solid reputations on the Democratic side of the aisle.”

Then she offered sage counsel to the average consumer of internal polling data.

“You have to remind yourself that pollsters only crunch the numbers,” Soltis told me. “It’s the people who are pushing these numbers out who have an agenda they must be served.”

And the people “pushing these numbers out,” she noted, work for a campaign — a “campaign that is only releasing the good news at this point. If their internals are that different from the numbers coming from outside data, the lack of additional information pertaining to their numbers ought to be questioned.”

But it’s not just the attempt at manipulating which has increased skepticism about any internal polling number release; it is the complete lack of substantial data attached to it.

If the election is as close as Barrett’s campaign suggests, the recall election might not end on election day.
Recent history indicates the battle might continue long after the votes have been tallied.

“I expect a lot of claims and counterclaims of what was happening with the voter count” after the election night, said Scott Furlong, a professor of political science and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

In essence, the political observer said he has a feeling that if the June 5 gubernatorial recall election is as close as polls indicate it could be — within 5 percentage points, anyway — Furlong said the call for recount will be loud.

GOP strategist Mark Graul said the campaigns of Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett — effectively competing in a rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election in which Walker won by 6 percentage points — must have a recount plan in place.

“I don’t think recounts are ever very likely,” said Graul, of Arena Strategy Group, a political consulting and public relations firm in Madison and Green Bay. “Having said that, a good campaign is preparing for what happens.

“All signs are pointing to a very close election, an election where the potential for a recount is a possibility,” he said.

We had a hard enough time teaching people the difference between a recount and a recall after Justice David Prosser defeated Joanne Kloppenburg. A recount in a recall is just too many Rs.

Hopefully the GOP will send a few less people to the victory party and send them instead to the Waukesha County Courthouse to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Just a suggestion.

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