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Nichols writes: "Walker has had all the benefits of the Republican Party organization, which has gone into overdrive to aid his candidacy, while Democrats have faced a multi-candidate primary fight. Yet Walker does not have the swing counties of western Wisconsin wrapped up. Not by a long shot."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker faces the next step in the effort to recall him on Tuesday. (photo: Capital Times)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker faces the next step in the effort to recall him on Tuesday. (photo: Capital Times)

Wisconsin Turns Against Scott Walker

By John Nichols, The Capital Times

07 May 12


riving west from Madison, through the small towns and dairy farm country of western Wisconsin, it quickly becomes clear that the Wisconsin recall election is a statewide phenomenon.

For all the efforts of Gov. Scott Walker to convince the hosts on Fox and CNBC that he is a popular governor who is threatened not by angry citizens but by "the left, the radical left, and the big labor union bosses" who are "somehow counting on the idea that they can bring enough money and enough bodies into Wisconsin to dissuade voters," the message from farm country tells an entirely different story.

Walker has had the overwhelming spending advantage since the recall fight started last November. Walker has had all the benefits of the Republican Party organization, which has gone into overdrive to aid his candidacy, while Democrats have faced a multi-candidate primary fight.

Yet Walker does not have the swing counties of western Wisconsin wrapped up. Not by a long shot.

Along Highway 14, heading out of Dane County and into Iowa and Richland counties, hundreds of hand-painted signs propose to "Recall Walker." Most list reasons for the governor's removal: "Worst Job Losses in U.S.," "Attacks on Collective Bargaining," "Cut Education," "Cut BadgerCare," "Divided State," "John Doe."

Of course, the governor also has his supporters.

But there is genuine, broad-based and statewide opposition to this governor in every region of Wisconsin - especially in the western and northern parts of the state. Even as he has spent $21 million so far on the recall campaign, that opposition is growing.

In the new Marquette University Law School Poll, disapproval of the governor's performance had moved up to 51 percent. Indeed, his approval rating has now declined to 47 percent, the lowest point so far this year. And one of the prospective Democratic challengers, Tom Barrett, has now moved ahead of Walker in head-to-head matchups run by the Marquette pollsters.

What has changed? The polling shows that Wisconsinites, who once felt that Republicans had the right equation for creating jobs (tax cuts for multinational corporations, attacks on public employees and their unions, slashing of education and public service funding), have soured on the GOP and its poster-boy governor. They've been influenced, of course, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics study showing that, in the year since Walker implemented his austerity agenda, Wisconsin has suffered the worst job losses in the nation. The Marquette poll shows that Wisconsinites now believe that investments in education, good relations with unions, and fair tax policies are more likely to grow the economy than Walker's "war on workers" approach.

The governor admitted Wednesday that the recall contest on June 5 is "a 50-50 race." But what's notable is that his numbers are declining, while numbers for the opposition are rising.

When I spoke at the Arcadia Bookstore in Spring Green the other night, we talked a good deal about the Democratic gubernatorial primary. I suggested, as I will here, that people should take their vote seriously. After all, they are not just choosing a nominee. If the signs in front of the farms are correct, and if the polls are correct, it looks like Democrats may be choosing a governor. your social media marketing partner


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+88 # juliajayne 2012-05-07 22:33
I'd have thought that the margin against Walker would be larger after all the chicanery he's pulled. Am I naive?

Well, in any case, I'm glad to know that Mr. Nichols is of the opinion that Wisconsinites have gone sour on boyfriend (sic). But I'd like to see more definitive numbers.
+33 # freeportguy 2012-05-07 23:44
The conservative message of fear is relentless, using "unions" and "out of state money" as boggeymen.

The funny part remains that Walker has raked in MORE out of state money than anyone else!
+29 # Skippydelic 2012-05-08 00:08
No, you're not naive. Keep in mind that this is for a *recall* election; people can be reticent to remove a Governor from office - as opposed to voting him out in a general election - and I think that's what we're seeing here.

Also keep in mind that the SuperPACs are spending *millions* to bolster Walker's fading image; that *does* have an effect!
+32 # tm7devils 2012-05-08 04:47
[quote name="juliajayn e"]I'd have thought that the margin against Walker would be larger after all the chicanery he's pulled. Am I naive?

No, you're not naive...those who vote republican are the naive ones. They think that by keeping RW politicians in office they are voting for keeping America strong; bolstering democracy; helping the middle class and the poor; and, giving equality to women and minorities. Their thinking is deluded and nothing could be farther from the truth. If they don't, or can't, face the reality of what's happening in our country our way of life will spiral down to anarchy and perdition.
+14 # Reyn 2012-05-08 08:27
Wisconsin is often a closely divided state - however, reality. Spending matters in politics in the US. Walker has spent 21 million so far, and right wing plutocrats have promised 70 million total before the election. I love Wisconsin so much (though I have never lived there I have been there for dozens of visits, usually for a week or more) 70 million, even 21 million is a HUGE amount of money to spend in the state. In contrast, the two Democratic candidates have spent between them less than 2 million so far and are estimated to spend total (together with superpacs supporting them) 13 million by the election. So, they will be outspent 4 or 5 to 1. If Walker is recalled, it is a testament to how badly he r*tf*cked himself - all things considered.
-8 # Saberoff 2012-05-08 10:39
Please keep in mind, juliajayne, that as of this writing, we in Wisconsin do not even have a candidate! These polls represent the "Anyone but..." sentiment in our state. The Focus starts tomorrow (May 9th). There will be a couple of polls yet, before the General Election (throughout the month). Check back.

Those hundred-miles of Walker signs that Ray Kondrasuk talks about in a post below, belong to those knuckle-draggin g, gun-toting, sweat drippers that were unfortunately born without brains and do take up (their own form of) residence in our generous and welcoming state. These poor slobs are, for some reason, depicted in some Hollywood movies of late (such as "Bridesmaids" - despicable people) or where Midwesterner’s look and act like what Jason Segel's character turns into (when he moves to Michigan) in the currently playing "The Five Year Engagement."

Yes Virginia: they exist. They exist here. They can exist anywhere; Even in Wisconsin!
+139 # Billsy 2012-05-07 22:58
If the citizens of Wisconsin can't replace this extremist in retaliation for his anti-working class legislative overreach, then I have no hope for this nation in its fight against oligarchy.
+21 # bubbiesue 2012-05-08 07:19
Right you are. Wisconsin has seen overreach in every move of the Walker administration- -both action and reaction.

In the state where The Wisconsin Idea once meant the boundaries of the University were the boundaries of the state, Walker has promoted pitting neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend. Ignorance has been overcoming intelligence. Strong emotions have overridden logic where labor was always lauded as the basis for a solid society, both economically and socially. And that's not including a John Doe investigation, which to me taints Walker whether or not it ever reaches his door. Hopefully it will happen after the voters discredit him, but I'm embarrassed to think what it represents.
+9 # MEBrowning 2012-05-10 09:57
"...pitting neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend..."

I was listening to a radio show from the 1940s the other day when Jack Benny came on to do an ad promoting unity in the face of war.

I almost cried. There was a time when people in the U.S. were neighbors and friends, and identified with each other because of where they lived and the dreams they shared for themselves and their families. Even though they had political, religious and ideological differences, such differences were considered private and worthy of mutual respect. In the late 1960s, Richard Nixon's close advisers (which included a young Dick Cheney and an even younger intern named Karl Rove) devised the strategy of dividing Americans along ideological lines, labeling so-called liberals "bad" and so-called conservatives "good." They've been using that strategy with great success ever since.

Damn the Republicans for dividing us like this.
+1 # AMLLLLL 2012-05-11 11:44
Scary, yes, but the ground game will prevail (fingers crossed!) as it did in CA with Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, both of whom spent way $millions and lost to Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer respectively.
+13 # luvdoc 2012-05-07 23:27
The super-pacs assume all the locals are yokels who watch lots of television and are easily swayed by inane sound bites and glib 'spokespersons' blathering on. Suppose, just suppose people are critical thinkers...luvd oc
+24 # Left Coast 2012-05-07 23:32
It seems that things have to get really bad before voters see the true colors of the GOP. I have always wondered why voters haven't learned their lesson a long time ago.
+17 # bsmith 2012-05-07 23:51
Let Wisconsin spread the net of democracy and land walker to be divied up for the mouths so eager to take a bite from his hind!

This pig needs to be roasted! He in my opinion from his beedy, untrusting eyes to his war wage earners of WI represents all that the right should not be voted for or trusted in the least. He whines to FOX about out of state funding by the dems/his opposition fueling his ouster but he himself receives the majority of his funding from similar sources albeit über rich self interested individuals that want nothing more than deregulatory legislature to fatten their own wallets.

Let him eat cake!!!
+23 # redjelly39 2012-05-08 00:04
The whole country is watching this development. I too hope he gets ousted for the sake of the working people of Wisconsin. He does not have valid solutions - only lip service...
+22 # Jane Gilgun 2012-05-08 01:48
First Pennsylvania booted the far right out. Then France did. Will Wisconsin be next? The far right has had a chance to show whether their policies work. They don't. A lot of us already knew this from past experience. Even more of us believe that we are all in this together and that what benefits one person should benefit others. It's too early to celebrate but there is growing reason for hope.
+25 # RichyD 2012-05-08 02:23
If you've read this article, Wisconsinites, I have hope that you will vote this guy out-along with the houses of your wounded democracy. I'm so sad, as a former resident and voter in your state, that the uninformed and the lazy voters took you down into the dark pit of oligarchy.
PLEASE do not let this happen again!

It has demoralized your state citizens, as well as the rest of your fellow U.S. citizens!

Encourage lazy voters, and inform those who need help understanding the depth to which they have driven their own government.

Alert them to John Nichols, The Capitol Times, and above all-promote RSN=Reader Supported News.

I recall a Wisconsin that revered education and strived for a intelligent citizenry. California level of education has also dropped, and some of us are involved in turning that around.

Please honor your women! If you are a woman, vote in your own interests.

In conclusion, please consider that oligarchy is tantamount to treason!
+29 # Ralph Averill 2012-05-08 02:30
Let's hope the people of Wisconsin join the French and Greeks in rejecting the notion that tax cuts for the wealthy, "austerity" for everyone else, and unregulated "free" markets are the only way out of this mess.
+8 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-05-08 04:47
If yard signs make a credible poll, my drive from Hayward to Eau Claire last week ('bout a hundred miles in northern Wisconsin) show Walker with a 50-to-1 advantage. My "Recall Walker" bumper sticker gave but tiny passing protest.

But stickers and signs don't vote. Let's watch the total Democratic four-candidate balloting today.
+17 # HooverBush 2012-05-08 05:07
Let's hope the intelligence spreads to other states, like Ohio, where another enemy of the working middle class should be outed!!!
-54 # Robt Eagle 2012-05-08 05:55
Hang on...the unions demanded that the ONLY insurance company that could be used for their members health coverage was overcharging Wisconsin and Walker then was able to negotiate a MUCH LOWER cost for the state. Unions were outraged because their leadership lost the kick backs from that one insurance company. Haven't read about that? Oh, maybe the truth is not worth knowing about. How is it that no union jobs were lost after Walker took over, but the cost to Wisconsin dropped dramatically? Get the facts!
+34 # conniejo 2012-05-08 09:19
Robt - With all due respect, you can't be talking about my Wisconsin. The lower costs for the State's portion of insurance coverage came from taking away State insurance payments that we negotiated in lieu of raises for several years. And MANY union jobs have been lost. Where I work, the physical plant workers were cut by almost 50%; the administrative support staff was cut by 20%. As you certainly know from recent headlines, Wisconsin is dead last in the "job creation" we were promised. With so many jobs lost in Wisconsin, how could you begin to think that none of them were union jobs. Speaking of getting facts, I would be very interested in knowing the source of your information. Please share it with us.
+18 # ABen 2012-05-08 09:52
Eagle; I suggest you follow your own advice, but try some other source than Fixed Noise.
+15 # pernsey 2012-05-08 13:08
Yeah, people who watch no news at all are better informed then people who watch Fox News, or as you say ABen Fixed Noise.
+14 # Capn Canard 2012-05-08 06:04
I hope these numbers hold, and they should but you can never underestimate the power of ignorance. Nichols has done a great job of reporting and keeping his eye on Wisconsin. I believe that Walker is already damaged by this debacle but I would like to see him be tossed into the cesspool of political failure. Better him than middle class workers.
+24 # kyzipster 2012-05-08 06:21
How much more evidence do people need to understand that empowering the rich and corporations at the expense of working people does not create jobs?
+14 # tclose 2012-05-08 06:56
This is encouraging news. Wisconsinites are to be lauded for their common sense and their ability to see through the propaganda from the Koch-bros-suppo rted Republican machine.

Keep up the good fight; we from outside WI will give what we can to help.
+20 # conniejo 2012-05-08 08:44
We do need your help, and thank you for keeping us in your thoughts. But we also need the help of politicians in Washington, especially Barack (and/or Michelle) Obama. This race will be won based on turnout. If we can get people to the polls, Walker will be out. It would be a huge boost if Barack or Michelle would visit the state, especially on the day of the election on June 5. People will come out to see them and, while they're out, they can be urged to go to the polls. I don't understand Obama's silence on the Wisconsin situation for more than a year. This election will set the tone for his own election. If we lose, hope also loses. For all of you who have provided encouraging words and financial support this past year, we in Wisconsin are deeply grateful. We look forward to celebrating with you on June 5!
+8 # X Dane 2012-05-09 02:14
Dear Conniejo, I was so impressed with the demonstration you staged in the cold of winter, you marched around your capitol in the cold, cold weather, and occupied it. your democratic senators left the state to prevent a hated vote. You kept on and on.

On Ed Schultz TV show I followed you,... You must love him?... He was a tireless fighter for you, and I fervently hoped you would gather enough petitions for the a very short time.

You not only did it....You got almost twice as many signatures as you needed.
You are truly inspiring, what heart, what determination, what guts.
I hope for your sake that you can kick out this disgusting excuse for a governor.

But I also hope you win for the sake of the whole country. For you are a beacon of hope for all of us, who REALLY care for our country. We have to show the republicans, that they cannot continue the destruction of our country and our middle class and poor.

So it will be heartbreaking for us if you loose, And the damned right wingers will gloat as never before.

All the best of luck to you.
Rachel Maddow also mentioned today, that Wisconsin's race was enormously important for the whole country.
+14 # genierae 2012-05-08 07:04
Progress is not always clear-cut, it comes sometimes by inches. Sometimes it's two steps forward, one step back. In this corrupt world it is never smooth, never assured. The Republicans and their corporate sugar-daddies have spent many millions of dollars to keep Walker in office and unfortunately big money makes a difference. There are lots of voters who don't pay close attention to politics and these people are dupes for Walker's propaganda ads. But people really are waking up and the days of Walker and his kind are numbered. We must do our best to get the truth out and let it do its work to open closed minds.
+13 # cordleycoit 2012-05-08 07:42
The repugs want to Wisconsin an example on how money on it's own can punish the people for being revolting, money seems not tow work when the people start yelling the "King's a Fink." The RNC thinks shear wast will win out. That brings to mind the prime suspects the Koch Bros. Their thinking runs 'we bought Lincoln Center so we can easily buy Wisconsin.' Running a mountebank is easy but sometimes the people do see though the pile of money.
+14 # pernsey 2012-05-08 08:02
Walker had so much money behind him, Im sure in Wis. they were bombarded continuously with smear ads, and Im hopeful now. That even with tons and tons of money spent, he was still voted out. This tells me, that money isnt necessarily going to buy the victory. Lord knows how many voting machines were rigged too? The right wing pulls these cheats while trying desperately to blame the left for all their short comings. Its not working anymore, and I thank God for that!
+10 # humactdoc 2012-05-08 08:23
This article gives me optimism except the Marquette Poll results. Walker's disapproval rating is only 51% and approval rating is as much as 47%. These are darn good numbers for the destructive practices of Walker. I just hope this poll leans conservative.
+22 # reiverpacific 2012-05-08 09:27
Don't forget that the appalling, shadowy and hugely filthy-wealthy Koch Empire is behind Walker and actually instigated his anti-public antics, so will be funneling -and probably already are- their seemingly bottomless dirty-tricks bag o' works into his fight for survival INCLUDING influencing any polls that come their way.
Keep in mind that their "Americans for prosperity" really means prosperity for a few and the rest will be enslaved and powerless!
My daughter lives in Madison and was heavily involved in the occupation of the Capitol, running food to the occupiers. She keeps me informed from the front and I'm proud to have raised a good, truth-to-power, everything-ques tioning activist who'se not afraid to get out there in front of the oppressors like her ol' battered, battle-scarred but still-defiant pa'!
+6 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-05-08 20:52
Riever, here's an update on my mother Lucille whom you acknowledged warmly a while back.

She carefully, tediously darkened in the ovals on her absentee ballot for Tom Barret and Mahlon Mitchell. 101-year-old fingers don't press quite so hard as they used to.
+11 # ABen 2012-05-08 09:48
It appears that the good voters of Wisconsin have had their fill of Walker and his right-wing, authoritarian style of governing. I suspect that they will take an equally dim view of all the outside money being poured into the state to defend Walker's dismal record. I also suspect that Wisconsin is about to deliver a good hard slap-in-the-fac e to the GOP by sending home one of the poster boys for it Randian social agenda; perhaps they will kick Paul Ryan to the curb as well. You go Wisconsin!!
+10 # Citizen Mike 2012-05-08 10:06
Once again the far-right shows its weakness, which is the tendency to over-reach and be over-confident. Going too far, too fast with radical rightwing programs that cannot be shoved down the throat of the public.

The public would not follow Quasi-President Cheney into acceptance of torture, and the public will not follow Walker into this fullscale war on honest workers and respectable middle-class employees.
+11 # HooverBush 2012-05-08 10:06
Nice Try Robert, but try using facts, instead of Fox BS. Try another channel---One that doesn't make stuff up!
+10 # matts 2012-05-08 10:25
What we are seeing here and all across the country is the meltdown of the Republican Party.

The powers in the party are fighting tooth and nail and pocketbook, but the GOP as we know is doomed.
+6 # X Dane 2012-05-09 02:29
With all my heart, I sure hope you are correct Matts. Let us all hope and pray.
+4 # ABen 2012-05-09 21:54
I agree matts. However, I shudder to contemplate the levels of ugly and vicious behavior that will accompany the demise of the right-wing nut party. The next six months could leave us all with a desire to take a shower and burn some incense.
+18 # Eliza D 2012-05-08 10:30
What is so frightening about Gov Walker is the inspiration he gives to other politicians that they can strip their workers of all rights, turn them into walking automatons,and be cheered by the Tea Partiers.His anti-worker shenagigans are being duplicated in Florida,New Jersey,Ohio and elsewhere.Wisco nsinites, sweep him out the door and bag him up for trash removal!
+21 # lilpat126 2012-05-08 12:09
Scott Walker needs to be given the boot. He has devastated this state. You see "I stand with Scott Walker" all along the road side. Not in people's yard, but in vacant lots and on the taking line bedside the road. His people are very busy putting them up. Not the residents. The way I look at this is that He is not planning on staying in Wisconsin he has his eye on bigger and better things, an no doubt has been promised them. What his handlers overlooked is that he is all talk and no delivery of goods. We are not a bunch of hicks from the sticks. We go on line frequently and read news from all over the world. We talk to each other and write letters to the editor, leave comments on line. We have 4 very good candidates for governor, now is the time to choose who gets to kick him out. And in November it is time to get rid of the Paul Ryans in congress and state offices.
+11 # tclose 2012-05-08 14:37
Good for the good people of Wisconsin. Keep up the fight.
+8 # teineitalia 2012-05-09 05:01
I have great faith in the people of Wisconsin. All eyes are on them now, and I don't believe for one minute that they will fail in this vote.
They will remove this mean-spirited governor and replace him with a kind person who believes that we need to care for one another, and social justice is the contract we make with one another.

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