Despite a largely Republican controlled legislature, a Republican Attorney General, and a controversial Republican governor, President Obama still leads polls in swing state Wisconsin looking towards November.
A Marquette University Law School poll released last month puts Obama ahead of Romney 51% to 43%. The margin has been relatively steady since April in the polls.
“Obama appears to be benefiting from one of the same dynamics that helped Walker — a sense among a significant group of Wisconsin voters that economic conditions in the state are getting better,” David Lauter, of the local Tribune Washington Bureau explains. “Romney leads among people who say the economy has gotten worse over the past year, Franklin said, but that group is only one-third of the electorate.”
Predicting a better economy for Wisconsin would be contradictory though, as the state’s unemployment rate rose .2% from May to June. Wisconsin’s real GDP however has slightly increased up from $222B to $223B in one year.
The Democrats were hoping to rely on more than a dispute over the future of the economy to win Wisconsin, and were thoroughly disappointed June 5th when Republican Scott Walker won a recall election. Walker provoked massive protests on the state capitol when he decided to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers in 2011.
Despite the controversies surrounding the election recall, Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with 51% of the vote. The New York Times reported, “Some Republican voters said the result ended the most volatile partisan fight in memory, one that boiled over 16 months ago in the collective bargaining battle and expanded into scuffles about spending, jobs, taxes, the role and size of government, and more.”
Walker’s triumph marks the first time a governor has survived a recall election. Political observers contend, despite Democrats easily taking the state in 2008, a Republican Party surge is potentially underway in “America’s Dairyland”.
“Obviously, Scott Walker winning tonight means that the Republicans are here for real,” Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the Times.
Despite the Republican rise, an exit poll showed 18% of Walker supporters still favor President Obama, citing the Obama administration is more equipped to handle the economic crisis and help the middle class.