Live Blog: Wisconsin Recall

The polls are still open until 8 pm in Wisconsin but exit polls and extraordinary turnout show the race is very close.  We’ll be updating this thread as the evening progresses so stay tuned.

Early exit polling of voters in the Wisconsin recall election showed a close contest, with a clear majority of voters having made up their minds well before the final weeks which saw intense campaigning on both sides of the aisle. The CNN exit polls showed that nearly nine of ten voters made their decisions prior to May, when Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary to challenge Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. Petitions for the recall election circulated after Walker signed a bill last spring which cut collective bargaining rights for many state employees, prompting massive protests at the state house.

Voters in line before 8 pm must be allowed to vote.  This could be a late night in precincts where turn out is at historic levels.

From Josh Marshall at TPM on the Exit polls.

First, exits show President Obama with a 6 point margin over Romney among this special election electorate. Big deal? Not necessarily. Most polls with showed Walker with a margin over Barrett showed Obama with an even bigger margin over Romney. Judged in partisan terms, voters were inconsistent, which they often are. No surprise there. So we shouldn’t be surprised by this finding.

Second and more significant, the percentage of union households in the electorate jumped 6 points since 2010. That’s significant and very welcome news for the Dems and for the Barrett campaign. Whether it’s enough is a whole different questions. But that’s significant.

Voters in this electorate also have a very narrowly positive take on unions. Again, encouraging for the Dems. But you need to see big numbers to think there’s a good chance of overcoming the advantage Walker had in the polls.

Next, absentee ballots. Chuck Todd says between 10% and 12% of the electorate voted absentee. What does that tell us? No idea. Only another big unpredictable and wild card.

Exit Poll Highlights from the NYT.

Preliminary exit poll results indicate an uptick in turnout among voters from union households – something Democrats were hoping for in their effort to oust Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday.

But whether that holds as voters continue to head to the polls, and whether it is enough to give Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee the edge, are open questions at this point.

About a third of voters in preliminary exit poll results say they or someone in their household belong to a labor union. That is an increase from 2010 and 2008, when 26 percent of voters in each of those elections were from a union household.

High union turnout is crucial for the Democrats. In 2010, 63 percent of voters in union households supported Mr. Barrett, compared with 37 percent for Mr. Walker.

71 Comments on “Live Blog: Wisconsin Recall”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Ed Klein: Hillary Clinton Is “Not Looking Good These Days. She’s Looking Overweight, And She’s Looking Very Tired”
    Kilmeade Replies: “Looks Like She’s Not Trying, To Be Honest”

    • Woman Voter says:

      No one ever says why Joe Biden has that same look or is it stare on his face. I was most saddened by John Huntsman’s daughter making the comment about Hillary needed years to look better or some such nonsense. Arghhh

    • Seriously says:

      Oh lord, I love the comments. “Attacking women who support Obama for their looks equals conservative desperation!!!!” Irony was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 7:48 PM. A small, exclusive momorial service is planned. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Fund For Better Living Through Self-Awareness.

    • NW Luna says:

      Who TF cares what Klein or Kilmeade think? Hillary’s not trying, she’s working. Her statescraft looks damn good. WTF else matters?

      And Kilmeade and Klein need to go wax their privy parts, the snools. How can we ship ’em back to the 18th century?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Who is Ed Klein?

      • Seriously says:

        He wrote that hatchet job on Hillaryc The Real Hillary, How Far She’ll Go to Become President (dun dun duuuuuh). Or whatever it was called. And the new book about O, The Amateur. He’s also related somehow to Ruth Shalit. 😉

    • freespirit says:

      … meanwhile, Ed Klein, who looked like shit to begin with, has lost even more hair, and gained a few pounds. His eyes are always kind of crazy looking – like a meth addict. There you have it, the opinion of at least one person on the declining appearance of Ed Klein, who has the poor judgement to publicly criticize the looks of the SOS – which would be disrespectful and sexist enough in and of itself. But, Ed slams SOS Clinton’s looks while his own looks, never great in the first place, have drastically worsened, leaving him with an appearance so ghastly that small children turn their faces from him in horror, and his neighbors close their blinds at night – so as not to catch a chance glimpse of him. Ed should have learned the lesson of the ugly – when you are, don’t talk about how other people look.

      • Seriously says:

        He is definitely not looking good, but honestly he should be embarassed to leave the house without a paper bag over his head on the basis of writing that column in Parade alone, never mind the rest of his body of work. I’m sure if his parents knew he was going to grow up and make up shit like Chelsea is the product of marital rape and answer questions like Dear Parade, rate Brad Pitt’s hygiene on a scale of 1 to 10 they could have found lots better uses for their money than his Columbia J school degree.

  2. Woman Voter says:

    Interesting story via Erin Burnett, apparent Tom Barrett endorsed Obama in 2008 over Hillary R. Clinton and Bill Clinton went out to Wisconsin to stop for Tom Barrett for Governor. WOW!

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    Were there absentee ballots for this election? Seen any news about the numbers sent out, if there were?

    Not only hoping for Barrett’s win, but interested in hearing the turnout percentages.

    • Connie, take a look at this shit:

      Wisconsin recall: Reports: Robo-calls lying to Wisconsin voters –

      Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said his campaign is contacting Wisconsin residents to counter reports of a robo-call that says anyone who signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker doesn’t have to vote in Tuesday’s election.
      Barrett, the Democrat challenging the Republican governor, said he has recorded a robo-call of his own telling people that signing a petition wasn’t enough and that they do have to cast a ballot, reported. There have been a number of reports of Wisconsin residents receiving calls saying that their signature on the recall petition counts as their vote.

      Read more:

      Remember that fake absentee voter ballot sent last year by the Koch brothers pac? The also sent notices to primarily dem areas with the wrong election date…

      • Meanwhile, Barrett for Wisconsin finance director Mary Urbina-McCarthy emailed supporters late Monday, writing, “Reports coming into our call center have confirmed that Walker’s allies just launched a massive wave of voter suppression calls to recall petition signers,” according to

        Read more:

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I remember during the last prez election stories of people being called and told the wrong date to vote, or that the polling/caucus locations had been changed. However, this bulls**t isn’t the type of voter fraud that Repugs are trying to stop. They, instead, prefer to stop non-existant, fake voter fraud instead of the real fraud they continue to perpetuate. All they’re peddling are LIES – LIES & MORE LIES. I think I ratcheted up the dial too high & am stuck in Permanently Pissed mode.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Those robocalls sound like something the Koch Bros would do – just like their climate change lies, among other things. If any of the cop shows on TV are right, the phone records can be checked to determine the number of the originating calls.

  4. And I also see the GOP filibustered the Fair Pay Act in the Senate: BREAKING: Senate GOP Blocks Pay Equity Bill | ThinkProgress

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Yeah, ’cause according to quote I heard on NPR, “it’s just another case of the Dems “war on free enterprise” & “it would be responsible for more frivolous lawsuits.” Yes, suing for pay equity is frivolous. Dare I say it? Repugs suck.

  5. ecocatwoman says:

    Question: I cancelled my cable. Can anyone recommend a link where I can watch the returns live online?

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    May I interrupt this program momentarily to add this link:—norman-ornstein? Jon Stewart is the best interviewer on the planet, as far as I’m concerned. Mann/Ornstein + Jon – fanf***ingtastic interview last night.

  7. dakinikat says:

    chucktodd “We are officially saying WI is ‘too close to call’; Precinct exit data indicates total coin flip.” #wirecall

  8. dakinikat says:

    Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm

    Holy Crap. Exits show 50% – 50%. Long night. via @TPM

    • Seriously says:

      The wingers are fearmongering about voter fraud and moaning and tearing their hair over the meanness and unfairness of recall elections, except for people named “Davis.” If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect they were a skosh nervous.

      • RalphB says:

        Yeah, I read the Dems in WI were busing in supporters from MN and MI to vote 🙂

        The 101st Chairborne doofus brigade is skosh nervous.

      • Seriously says:

        No, no, not the land of Minnesota nice, Chicago of course. Scores of fraudulent voters were being bussed in from Chicago. 😉

        Breitbart posted this nonsense about 120% turnout in Madison, and even though that wasn’t the figure being cited, it was actually 96% (and even that was just guesswork extrapolated from turnout at 4 p.m.), the wingers have a hard time grasping the concept of same-day registration.

    • Damn, it sure will be a long night!

  9. dakinikat says:

    NBC just called the race for Scott Walker.

  10. Fannie says:

    Hell if I see any RECOVERY in this country.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    The exit polls showed that Obama is far ahead of Romney in the Wis. Yet a lot of those people voted for Scott Walker.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    The Lt. Gov. survived.

    • jawbone says:

      That’s bad because if the Dem lt. gov. won, he or she would take office in Walker’s legal troubles took him out of office.

      I think….

  13. ecocatwoman says:

    HuffPo live is saying that WI people are still voting because they were in line at 8PM.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m not surprised. If the polls aren’t all closed, the media shouldn’t be calling the races. But they don’t care about voters….

      • ecocatwoman says:

        And now they just said that the Repugs are leading all 4 Senate races. America isn’t f***ed, it is doomed.

    • NW Luna says:

      As Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D- Mich., said at a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee when it was writing the bill, the criticism of Cadillac plans “really doesn’t hold true for many, many working Americans, who over the years have given up salary increases to get their increased (health insurance) benefits….and they are now because of cost increases, the same cost increases we are trying to address overall and reform, they are seeing their co-pays and deductibles go up.”

      Six of one, half-dozen of another, it’s still six ways for them to screw us over.

  14. NW Luna says:

    How fast do they count absentee ballots? In WA state, voters have through Election Day to mail their absentee ballot. Which means it can take days to get the correct tally if the race is tight.

    We had a governor’s race that went down to about 200 votes, or was it 40? more for the Dem back in ’04 from absentee ballot counting. A hand recount was done.

    I envision Gov Walker getting admitted to a state university hospital. “We practice Lean principles, sir, and with Just-In-Time staffing, your nurses are double-booked with other patients. Surgeon’s triple-booked; Best Practices learned from the financial industry, sir, but they’ll be right with you.”

    • RalphB says:

      70% of Milwaukee still hasn’t been counted/reported. It’s actually early.

    • Seriously says:

      According to some of the public sector union leaders, between 25-40% of their members have stopped paying dues since Walker made it legal. Dear god, how stupid are these people? If you hate having a decent standard of living that much, please just quit and go live in a cardboard box, freeing up those jobs for people with two functioning brain cells.

      • RalphB says:

        Some people just can’t see beyond the lure of “something for nothing”. Too bad it doesn’t really exist, sort of like free lunches.

      • NW Luna says:


        Unions. The folks who brought you the weekend.

      • Seriously says:

        A friend of mine’s parents are teachers, and they’re always complaining about having to join the union. We’re always like, doesn’t the union negotiate your contracts, which include your wages, benefits, working conditions, etc.? Her mom’s direct quote is, “So what? I can negotiate my own contract.” Of course. How silly of us to be so detached from reality.

      • bostonboomer says:

        And the 40-hour week, and sick leave, and vacation pay, and overtime pay, and every other benefit that any worker has.

      • NW Luna says:

        “I can always negotiate my own contract.”

        Riiiiiight. A group of one working-class person has no power. How can a teacher not understand that? {facepalm}

      • Seriously says:

        And it’s not like they didn’t have the experience of working non-union jobs before the good union teaching jobs! Who hasn’t worked at least one non-union job in her life? Remember how you didn’t really get much opportunity to negotiate anything, unless you count “These are our unreasonable, unfair terms–take them or leave them” as negotiation?

  15. Is it done? Scott Walker wins Wisconsin recall election – Political Hotsheet – CBS News

    My daughter is just now getting some sleep, so I thought I would check in…I see that the Koch shit really hit the fan…money.

    • Barrett conceded

      With 88 percent of the expected vote in, Walker led Barrett 54 percent to 45 percent. Barrett conceded the race late Tuesday night, saying that while “the state remains divided,” he hopes all sides will remain engaged to serve the interests of Wisconsin families.

    • Seriously says:

      One Senate race has yet to be called.

      • Thanks Seriously.
        Well my daughter got a few minutes, now she is back with me and in a lot of pain, night all!

      • Seriously says:

        I’m so sorry, I hope she feels better. As of now, the Dems are declaring victory for Lehman, Wanggaard hasn’t conceded yet.

  16. dailypuma says:

    What percentage of the total state budget can go towards paying state pensions and other related benefits without harming the state’s ability to provide services. So far this conversation has been avoided by the media.

    I’m guessing the percentage is around 10%, Any amount over 10% going towards pension and benefits for state workers will disrupt the ability of a state to properly offer all the services everybody wants.

    On the west coast, the percentage of the yearly budget apportioned to city pensions is 20% and climbing towards 30% and the results have been pretty awful and getting worse.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Then it would probably be a good idea to cancel the pensions of the Governor and state legislature, right? They probably get a lot higher pensions and don’t need them as badly as teachers or firefighters.

    • dakinikat says:

      Alrighty then … I can tell you don’t have a background in finance. First, most pensions are in trouble because of the recent financial crisis. They relied on rating agencies to honestly rate things like swaps and their funds have taken major hits as a result of bad investments and bad markets. Unfortunately, that tends to compound. There is a double whammy right now in that interest rates have been held to historical–almost negligible lows–which means their overall growth plans have been challenged.

      They had to change the financing formulas for state employees here in Louisiana. They basically increased the amount that those of us that had opted into an ORP had to give to the system to cover those employees in the fixed plan to make up the difference. It didn’t come from the tax payer. The shortages came from us.

      California is especially bad because they’ve had so many ballot initiatives that have basically cut off the ability of the state to finance operations. It’s an example of greedy property owners avoiding responsibility for their services.

      You can compare the pay of public employees to private employees. When you compare jobs one-to-one you find that the public employees are paid much less in terms of salary dollars. The pensions, good insurance, and ‘job security’ is the compensation for getting less than a market wage. For example, finance professors make between $130,000 to $250,000 a year on average at the bigger public universities. However, those positions on Wall Street are million dollar + bonus jobs. The benefits and less stress are the compensating factors.

      There is no fixed percentage for any commitment a public entity makes to anything. It’s also silly to suggest such a thing because the time might arise when situations change. Nobody planned for the 2007 financial market crash to tank pension plans and retirement accounts and real estate prices.

      Public finance is basically the idea that you pay for what you get. California used to have the best schools any where. That’s definitely not the case any more because a group of people decided they weren’t going to pay for that any more. You can compare that to Minnesota with relatively high taxes but high quality life styles, public health and safety, and education still and you catch my drift. I never once complained about the high taxes there because I could see the benefits in good roads, excellent parks, wonderful schools, and a great overall lifestyle. I complain about the low taxes here. I can’t believe how little I actually pay. It shows in the quality of life big time and I hate it. So, the deal is, if you don’t want public services just go ahead and let your state not meet it’s legal obligations and short change its programs. You too, can live in a bottom tier state and then complain about crime rates, bad roads, bad schools, and other nasty things. Public pensions are part of what attracts good workers to state jobs. There’s no formula on how much to spend. There’s only a formula on how bad your community can get when the public is not committed to making it a good place to live and work. I’m tired of watching the Republicans play blame and resent your neighborhood state employee. It’s not my fault that businesses are dumping all over their serfs. It is, however, my fault if my kids don’t live in a decent community. The serfs need to organize instead of resenting public workers hard won benefits. If you had higher salaries for working people, you’d have a much better tax base to pay for community goods and services.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks, Dak. Your words will probably fall on deaf ears–but at least I read them and found them helpful!

  17. jawbone says:

    Wi Democrats now hold majority in the state senate. Yes, by one vote, but it is a consolation. See this story at DKos — it was really hard to find the senate recall election results!

    State Senate – District 21 – Special General
    60 of 60 Precincts Reporting – 100%
    Name Party Votes Vote %
    Lehman, John Dem 36,255 51%
    Wanggaard, Van (i) GOP 35,476 49%

    Walker will be governor (unless he’s indicted and leaves office or resigns), but he will not have the same heavy free hand he had before the protests and initial recall elections; he won’t have a rubber stamp senate any longer.

    As of now, he will have to weedle, bribe, or threaten at least one Dem senator to his side for a tie or get two of them. Not saying he can’t do that — or that Koch won’t come up with the money to do it–, but it will be much, much, much more difficult. And Fitzgerald will no longer be in charge of the senate schedule.

    So Walker will have to appear at least more “bipartisan,” or just go whole hog into “official misconduct.”

    ALL the Dems will have to stand strong as well.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s some good news anyway. Thanks! I was hoping Fitzgerald would lose, but this is the second best thing that could happen to the senate.

    • jawbone says:

      Correction: Walker was unable to get the special favors for Koch Bros, part of the law passed, so the sales did not take place. Sorry. But, it failed only because the public had been awakened by the Dem senators fleeing to IL to prevent a quorum. However, Fitzgerald went on to play lots of legislative games and shenanigans with time frames, etc.

    • jawbone says:

      The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal has a 3 AM piece up about the Lehman victory in the 21st District and makes the point that the margin of victory will surely lead to a recount.

      So the silver lining may still turn into lead.

      Fitgerald won handily — his opponent was a photographer who had never run for office previously. Probably a solid red district.

      I also think the massive nationally directed campaign to get mayors to clear out Occupy sites played a role in the loss of attention to the real issues in the recall. And some evidence has come out that implicates Obama in that, especially where Dem mayors were involved.

    • jawbone says:

      Actually, in November, the 21st District is changed so much it essentially disappears.

      When the R’s still had leadership control of the state senate they got their redistricting plan through, and the 21st District essentially disappears. Instead of a block-shaped blend of rural, surburban, and Racine city, it now is just Racine and Kenosha cities as the 22nd, with the 21st made up of all the non-urban areas from the previous two districts. So much for bringing Wisconsinites together — they just split the rural, suburban away and set them against the urban.

      Scroll down to the the third set of maps, but also note how the R’s worked to protect two other Republican senators.

      Ah, the power of redistricting, which carries on for a good 10 years. Unless Dems win big and want to break tradition….

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m trying to figure out when Democrats became wimps. I guess it must have been after the Clinton impeachment. They learned the wrong lessons from that, because Clinton’s approval numbers ended up sky high–proving that Americans didn’t give a sh&t about Monica Lewinsky. But Gore was afraid to let Clinton campaign for him, he lost his home state. Then we got Dubya, followed by wimpy Nancy “impeachment is off the table” Pelosi and wimpy Barack “look foward, not backward” Obama.