“Democrats here trumpeted the outcome as the beginning of the end for Mr. Walker and the Republicans who swept into control of the state in November. ‘What the vote showed is that people really woke up to Walker’s agenda,’ State Senator Chris Larson, a Democrat, said on Wednesday. ‘And I’d say they’re only getting warmed up.’

“But while anti-Walker forces certainly turned out in remarkable numbers on Tuesday, others did too: a similar number of conservative-leaning voters. State officials had predicted a 20 percent turnout for the usually sleepy springtime election, but more than 30 percent of voters statewide wound up casting ballots (some polling places ran out of ‘I voted’ stickers)…

“‘The Democrats and the unions threw everything they had at that election and the silent majority of voters turned out and beat them back,’ said Scott Fitzgerald, the Republican leader in the State Senate. ‘I’m very pleased with these results.’

“What seems beyond debate, though, is that Wisconsin voters have rarely been quite so split, so worked up, so mad.”

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“‘What it shows is Wisconsin is essentially a purple state,’ said John McAdams, associate professor of political science at Marquette University and a conservative blogger.

“McAdams called the race ‘a referendum on Scott Walker’s policy agenda, with very, very large national implications,” ending in ‘almost an even standoff’ between Walker opponents mobilized by unions and liberal organizations for Kloppenburg and Walker supporters mobilized by talk radio and conservative television advertising for Prosser.

“This election ‘proved Wisconsin is not just a battleground state or a swing state,’ agreed Mordecai Lee, professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a former Democratic legislator. ‘It’s the ultimate 50-50 state.'”

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