The Democrats’ attempt to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to an end Tuesday night, as the incumbent increased his victory margin beyond his five-point 2010 win over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. There are three important takeaways from this:
1) The results don’t tell us much about 2012 . . . Basically, this spin from progressive sites right now has some truth to it (except that this is somehow good news for President Obama). This is a special election, held in June, to recall a governor. Special elections have notoriously poor track records predicting general election outcomes, and the presidential electorate will likely look different (and more Democratic) than this one.
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In particular, we might recall the most recent recall of a governor — that of California’s Gray Davis in 2003. Republicans took Arnold Schwarzenegger’s win in that election as a sign that President Bush coulmore about Davis’s unpopularity and the Governator’s charisma as national events.
Similarly, it’s important to keep in mind that “recall fatigue” almost certainly played a role here. Exit polls suggest that supermajorities of voters thought that recalls should only be used in cases of corruption, or not at all. Walker’s campaign certainly played to that sentiment. A large number of voters might not have been crazy about the incumbent, but they thought that he should be given a chance to complete his term. When they go to the polls in November, these types of voters are very much in play for the president.
2) . . . but the results do tell us something about 2012. At the same time, turnout exceeded that of the 2010 gubernatorial race, and this was a high-profile election effort. In other words, it was anything but your typical, under-the-radar special election.
Read More at Real Clear Politics. By Sean Trende.