By: Jeffrey Klein
Political Buzz Examiner
Democrat prognostications on the union led re-call election against Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have become a source of great sport for GOP political followers all over the nation–because what was once billed as being a public political beheading of Gov. Walker by the unions, is now more than likely becoming their own death knell.
In a fit of jealous rage, or a fight for life, depending upon your perspective, the predominantly Democrat labor unions picked this fight with Gov. Walker and Lt. Governor Kleefisch, after he led the fresh, Republican-majority legislature to strip all Wisconsin public labor unions of their collective bargaining rights in order to eliminate a looming $3.2 billion budget deficit.
Once the union volunteers and supporters had canvassed the state to collect 900,000 recall petition signatures, a media storm assembled around the ceremony of box after pox of petition documents being valiantly paraded into state election offices to ignite the recall process.
Unions hoped that by causing just the third state gubernatorial recall election in our nation’s history, it would serve as a hallmark threat to any elected official who would dare cross swords with them, in an attempt to stem the anti-public labor union sentiment burning like a prairie fire across most of the nation.
However, one year later, the undeniable facts prove that Governor Walker’s plan has achieved these Herculean fiscal objectives, without laying off anyone or raising taxes; in fact, it has been widely reported that property taxes around the state have actually gone down.
Another undeniable fact for the unions to swallow is that Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the state’s second-largest public-sector union, fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011, according to a May 31, 2012 Wall Street Journal article.
The only honest, straightforward comment came from Bryan Kennedy, the American Federation of Teachers’ Wisconsin president, who said union leaders fear that these sharp membership losses could be a harbinger of bad times for similar unions’ nationwide.
Failure to oust Mr. Walker and overturn the Wisconsin law “spells doom,” he said.
But a victory for the governor, who has been leading his Democratic opponent in recent polls, would amount to an endorsement of an effort to curtail public-sector unions, which have been a pillar of strength for organized labor while private-sector membership has dwindled.
And recent polls suggest that it’s more likely Walker wins.
The independent Marquette University Law School telephone survey released last Wednesday surveyed 720 registered voters and found that among the 600 likely voters Gov. Walker topped challenger, Mayor Tom Barrett, 52 percent to 45 percent, with a margin of error of roughly 4 percent–essentially the same results of the school’s poll two weeks ago, according to a May 30, 2012 FOXNews article.
As elections are driven by turnout, this poll also revealed that 92 percent of Republican likely voters were “absolutely certain to vote” in the recall, while only 77 percent of Democrat likely voters said the same.
And even Real Clear Politics consolidated poll results show Walker leading Barrett 51 percent to 44.4 percent–confirming his solid 7 point lead.
Now, most political analysts believe that a Walker win in Wisconsin will have an impact on the November 2012 presidential elections–Democrats, of course, disagree.
“It’s a Wisconsin-specific moment, not a national referendum,” said Democratic strategist John Lapp, a veteran senior strategist for several election campaigns in Wisconsin, according to a FOXNews article today.
While Obama has steered clear of the state–undoubtedly to avoid any connection between his campaign and the recall, Jim Messina, Team Obama campaign manager, says “I’ve not seen any data that would indicate that Wisconsin is anything but leaning toward the president.”
And Tad Devine, a top aide to past Democratic presidential nominees John Kerry and Al Gore said that the data suggest Obama has an advantage that a Walker win can’t negate.
The president was particularly effective in turning out African-Americans in Democratic-heavy Milwaukee and college students in Democratic-heavy Madison in 2008, and he believes those niches remain strategic advantages.
However, that was as they say ancient history, and arguably this is a new day in political dynamics, as state election officials forecast a 60 plus percent turnout, which is massive by national standards, Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pointed out turnout in California’s 2003 gubernatorial recall clocked in at 36 percent, according to Chris Stirwalt’s FOXNews article today.
Another troubling fact that seems to be unknown to Obama and the Democrats is that the political winds in Wisconsin have changed, such that according to a recent Gallup poll referenced in Stirwalt’s article, self-described moderates are on the decline, as both liberals and conservatives are on the rise–greatly favoring Conservatives at 41 percent, with Liberals trailing at just 23 percent.
When you factor in a 60% turnout, with 92% of Republicans pledging to vote including the 41% who are self-described Conservatives in Wisconsin–Obama and the Democrats don’t have a chance in the November general election.
Especially as union campaign contributions are collapsing, along with union due income, which will quickly render them all extinct.