Tuesday Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall election against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by a vote of 53 percent to 46 percent. Walker, one of three governors in U.S. history to face a recall, is the first ever to come out victorious.
The effort to recall Walker began after the governor approved measures last year to curb collective bargaining rights of state employees in an effort to prevent widespread layoffs. His action sparked massive protests from union supporters in Madison that went on for weeks at the Capitol, and in November, the recall campaign began. Anti-Walker activists eventually collected 900,000 signatures, well over the 540,000 needed to institute a recall.
In the midst of a heated presidential race, much has been made of the Wisconsin election, with some arguing that it serves as a proxy for the upcoming November election. President Barack Obama did not become directly involved in the Wisconsin race and many speculate this is because he didn’t want to entangle himself in a race Democrats were likely to lose.
Pre-election polls showed Walker with a 3-point lead (he actually came out 7 points ahead). Wisconsin has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1984, but Obama is expected to face competition in the battleground state from Republican Mitt Romney.
"The president's failure to even show up for the fight will have repercussions going into November," says U.S. News’s Peter Roff.
Romney himself said Tuesday’s recall results will "echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin."
For the Wisconsin outcome to benefit Romney, the candidate must keep up the grassroots momentum built by the governor and turn it into support in November, says U.S. News’s Ford O’Connell.
Leslie Marshall, however, says that while the result of Tuesday’s recall is not surprising, it doesn’t mean Obama is in danger this fall. In exit polls, Wisconsin voters still preferred Obama to Romney, 51 percent to 44 percent.
Voters find Obama to be more likeable, but dissatisfaction with his performance on the economy and his ability to create jobs lingers, making him vulnerable in November's election.
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