Oh my: Walker 54, Barrett 42 in Wisconsin

This is from We Ask America, the same pollster that recently had Walker by nine, which was already the biggest margin of any recent recall poll. Now they’re topped it. The little Eeyore on my shoulder is whispering “outlier” — and yet, they’re using likely voters and an enormous sample, which means their margin of error is smaller than any of their competitors.


Is this happening?

If Scott Walker actually wins public-employee households, I’ll need to drop Humpbot and come up with a new, even sexier victory mascot to fully capture the jubilation. Over at the NYT decision desk, Nate Silver is about ready to make a call:

Mr. Walker leads his Democratic opponent, Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, by an average of six percentage points in those polls and has not trailed in any poll since February.

Some polls issued by Democratic-affiliated groups have shown a somewhat tighter race, with Mr. Barrett trailing by about three percentage points instead. Partisan-affiliated polls have a long track record of somewhat exaggerating their candidate’s standing, however, and it may be telling that even these polls do not show Mr. Barrett ahead.

In a typical November election, a 6-point lead with two weeks to go would translate into a high probability of winning — roughly on the order of 90 percent, based on the historical accuracy of polls of governors’ races.

The dynamics of a recall election may be slightly more uncertain. But with high turnout expected, which tends to make polling more reliable, Mr. Barrett would most likely need a last-minute change in momentum to have much of a chance of prevailing.


Like me, he’s not fully sure what accounts for Walker’s staying power. The collective bargaining law appears to be a minor asset at best and possibly even a tiny liability at worst, but the magical combination of incumbency, massive campaign spending, a contentious Democratic primary, and recall fatigue among Wisconsinites has us rocketing towards a waterloo for big labor. And … maybe more?

In other Wisconsin news, Tom Barrett’s own pollster says this one is going down to the wire. I’m skeptical, but beware: Even We Ask America, the most bullish pollster of all, cautions that “A massive, well-organized GOTV program by Barrett’s supporters combined with enough of Walker’s supporters staying home can change everything.” Buy champagne, but only on the way home from voting.

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