Walker: No plans for a recount; Update: Walker by 12?

With the recall election in Wisconsin going to the voters tomorrow, one might have expected a boatload of news in the race, but so far the day has been fairly quiet.  The PPP poll didn’t show any change from its historical series, pointing to a narrow win for Scott Walker.  RCP’s polling average shows a 6.4-point Scott Walker lead in all polls taken in the last four weeks, all of which used likely voters as their base, which hints at a somewhat more significant win in tomorrow’s voting.  Either way, Walker says he hasn’t planned for a recount, even though he’s careful to state that the race will be close no matter what happens:

Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he was optimistic he would win Tuesday’s recall election, but added he thought the race would be tight.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” he told reporters. “We’re not overconfident. We understand this is going to be a big vote turnout. But we understand there is a lot of passion from all different directions. We want to make sure we get our voters out and make as many last-minute appeals to undecided voters that if they want to move on, if they want to go forward, we’re the candidate.” …

Asked if he’d made plans for a recount, he shook his head.

“In our case, we’re focused on getting people to the polls, focused on a way to win,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a big turnout across the board. … I’m not conceding any part of the state of Wisconsin.”

Another poll did come out today, from an outfit of which I’m not aware called Angus Reid Opinion.  The results show Walker up six over Barrett 53/47 among “decided” voters, polled in an online survey.  That matches the RCP average, but online surveys are somewhat less accepted than phone surveys, although it’s not to say that it’s not legitimate, either.  The crosstabs are interesting; according to this survey, Barrett and Walker tie among seniors, while PPP showed Walker with a substantial lead in that demo — 19 points, in fact.  It also shows Barrett and Walker tied with voters under 35 years of age, which seems counter-intuitive as well.  Walker takes 22% of voters who went with Barack Obama in 2008, while Barrett only gets 12% of McCain voters.  Take it with as big a grain of salt as you’d wish.

On the other hand, Jim Geraghty reports that Barrett seems to be losing the Brewers Poll:

During the third inning, the jumbotron began showing random crowd shots (which had the attention of the crowd and generated friendly cheers) – the cute baby in the Brewers jumper, the shirtless guys with beers, the pretty girls dancing to the music. Then, the camera panned to a guy holding up a “Vote Barrett” sign. The crowd erupted…in boos! These were significant, sustained boos. I asked the couple seated next to me – a young couple that didn’t appear to be regular CPAC attendees or anything –  about the situation and they said, “Barrett’s got no chance. People are sick of this thing.”

In other news, the Department of Justice announced this morning that they will monitor the vote in Milwaukee tomorrow, pursuant to the Voting Rights Act, which prompted a blessedly small amount of reaction on Twitter and in my e-mail:

The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor elections on June 5, 2012, in the following jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights statutes: Alameda, Fresno and Riverside Counties, Calif.; Cibola and Sandoval Counties, N.M.; Shannon County, S.D.; and the city of Milwaukee.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.  In addition, the act requires certain covered jurisdictions to provide language assistance during the election process.  Fresno County, Riverside County and the city of Milwaukee are required to provide assistance in Spanish.  Cibola, Sandoval and Shannon Counties are required to provide language assistance to Native American voters.  Alameda County is required to provide language assistance to Hispanic, Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino voters.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to jurisdictions that are certified by the attorney general or by a federal court order.  Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Shannon County based on the attorney general’s certification and in Alameda, Riverside and Sandoval Counties based on court orders.  The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these jurisdictions, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

In addition, Justice Department personnel will monitor polling place activities in Fresno County, Cibola County and the city of Milwaukee.  Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

Interesting, but apparently routine.  Milwaukee appears to be a covered jurisdiction in the VRA, pursuant to a notice filed at least since 2010, long before any recall effort began.  The scope of the “monitoring” is only to ensure that Spanish-language ballots and voting materials are present in precincts within the city of Milwaukee.

What if Walker wins, especially by a significant margin?  John Fund says that no one will be able to pretend that it was a decision made by an uninformed electorate, and a loss by Democrats and unions will have both looking for a scapegoat, and Mitt Romney with a turnkey operation in a suddenly-competitive state:

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times dismissed Obama on Sunday as someone who “prefers to float above, at a reserve, in grandiose mists.” When the likes of Dowd are no longer feeling the love, we shouldn’t be surprised that other Democrats are dumping on Obama for not showing up to help Barrett in Wisconsin. “Progressive Pundits Lay Groundwork to Blame Obama if Wisconsin Recall Fails” was the headline of a searing critique by Noah Rothman at Mediaite. He quoted Ed Schultz of MSNBC sarcastically noting that the president was in neighboring Iowa and Minnesota last week and that his campaign office is in nearby Chicago. “It’s all around, but is it in?” Schultz asked of the Obama campaign. “[Union members] want him on that line because he talked about being on that line with them back in 2007.” Schultz closed his plea for an Obama visit by saying it is the “job of a leader” to motivate his followers.

Liberals view Wisconsin as a state that is “leading the way in reshaping American’s view of the role of government,” Rothman emphasizes. “President Obama has abandoned that fight, noting correctly that it is not likely to be won,” he says. “But progressive pundits . . . are right — this is not just another election. . . .  It is a fight with broad implications that President Obama has abandoned. The question now becomes, can they [progressives] forgive this betrayal ahead of a tough election in the fall?”

The state hasn’t voted Republican since Ronald Reagan’s reelection effort in 1984, and Obama won it easily by 14 points in 2008. But the state can be competitive. Both Al Gore and John Kerry carried it by only a handful of votes — many of which may have been fraudulent, as a 2007 Milwaukee Police Department report showed.

By this fall, Wisconsin’s new voting law will probably be in effect. It limits same-day registration abuses and requires voters to show photo ID at the polls; this should reduce the role of last-minute fraudsters such as the infamous Park Avenue heiress who pled guilty to flying to Milwaukee in 2000 and passing out cigarettes to homeless people in exchange for their promise to vote for Al Gore.

The psychological blow of losing yet another recall campaign would surely reduce enthusiasm and turnout on the left, while leaving Romney with an extensive campaign infrastructure in the state: 22 offices set up by Governor Walker, firmly in place only five months before the presidential race.

That all depends, of course, on a Walker win.  That depends on Republicans winning the turnout battle tomorrow.

Update: According to We Ask America, the race has shifted in the last few days — in Walker’s direction:

So, as fireworks continue to explode over the political horizon in the Dairy State, we asked 1,570 likely voters who they support in the June 5 election. Here are the results. …

Those surprising results would project at a 56-44 final win for Walker. HOWEVER, while Walker continues to lead Barrett, we once again caution readers that this is an extremely difficult election to predict. Turnout is king in all elections, and it may be even more important in this one. Wisconsin’s labor movement is keen to get as many of the anti-Walker voters to the polls as possible and have displayed the ability to rally their troops effectively. And Wisconsin regulations allow Election Day voter registration with a minimum of residency documentation–something that has both sides whispering of potential abuse from their opponents.

WAA had Walker up seven last week.  This is an automated poll (like Rasmussen, for instance), conducted among 1570 likely voters, a very large sample for a statewide election.  WAA warns that it will still come down to turnout, but that’s an eyepopping gap the day before the election.

Jazz Shaw May 16, 2022 12:41 PM ET