President Obama wasn't on the ballot in Wisconsin, but Gov. Scott Walker’s decisive victory in Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall is a stinging blow to his reelection prospects.
The vote in Wisconsin was a telltale sign that the conservative base is energized, that Democratic voter-mobilization efforts may not be as stellar as advertised, and that the Democratic-leaning “blue wall” Rust Belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will be very much in play this November.
Walker won by a bigger margin than he did in 2010, and with more overall votes. He carried 38 percent of union households, strikingly strong given that he’s been cast as the villain to labor.
Obama’s team is taking consolation in the fact that exit polling showed him leading Mitt Romney, 51 to 44 percent. But that’s hardly great news: With near-presidential level turnout (and notably higher union turnout), Obama is running five points behind his 2008 performance. Replicate that drop across the board, and all the battleground states flip to Romney.
For all of Obama’s political talent, he’s been a major drag on his party since taking office. In 2009, Republicans won hotly-contested gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. During the heat of the health care debate in 2010, Scott Brown picked up Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in deep-blue Massachusetts. Later that year, Republicans regained control of the House and picked up six Senate seats.
And now, Walker wins the recall by a bigger margin than he won in the 2010 election -- which was already a watershed year for Wisconsin Republicans. It suggests that something has to change fast for Obama to avoid the fate of his party colleagues come November.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney Wants to Know: ¿Dónde Están los Empleos?
[National Journal, 6/6/12] Armed with fresh ammunition in the form of the May jobs report, Romney this week launched a full-scale offensive aimed at Latino voters. Romney’s plan to lure Hispanics into his camp is the same strategy he’s employing to win over all other undecided voters: It’s the economy, stupid.
The Not-So-Bad News for Democrats Out of Wisconsin
[National Journal, 6/6/12] Democrats are having a nightmare week and Republicans are having a banner one. But at least when it comes to the recall election, National Journal’s Jill Lawrence writes that the news isn’t all bad for Obama and his party – not least of which is that there are still nearly five months till the presidential election.
Romney Taps ex-Commerce Leader for Hispanic Team
[USA Today, 6/6/12] Romney unveiled the leaders of his Hispanic steering committee today, tapping Carlos Gutierrez, a former Commerce secretary in Bush's administration, Jose Fuentes, former attorney general of Puerto Rico, and Hector Barreto, a former Small Business Administration chief, as national chairmen of "Juntos Con Romney."
How Wisconsin Could Reset the Electoral College Map
[National Journal, 6/6/12] Wisconsin’s most important message for November may be that Democrats continue to face enormous difficulty among blue-collar whites, as National Journal's Ronald Brownstein writes. That will increase the pressure on the president (and his party, in congressional races) to maximize their gains this fall in states like Colorado and Virginia, where white-collar whites and minorities can fashion a majority.
The Return of Sheldon Adelson
[Politico, 6/6/12] Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul that backed Newt Gingrich, is now back on the market with talk of giving at least $1 million to the Romney-affiliated super PAC Restore Our Future. The race for Adelson’s cash is emblematic of a larger phenomenon – the power struggle between the outside groups trying to defeat Obama.
Walker's Win Built on GOP Unity, Energy
[National Journal, 6/5/12] In a race that pitted each party’s political base against the other, Gov. Scott Walker won the Wisconsin recall on Tuesday because he did the better job of unifying his party and mobilizing his supporters.
Wisconsin Exit Polls: Voters Like Obama, Don't Like Recalls
[National Journal, 6/6/12] The voters who chose to stick with Walker narrowly support President Obama, giving him a lead over Mitt Romney, 51 percent to 44 percent, exit polls show.
Wisconsin Recall: The Biggest Losers
[Politico, 6/6/12] Democrats, Obama, public unions, and money monks were the losers in Tuesday's contest, not just Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Using quotes from iconic Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, Politico explains what happened.
Governors' Races Can Be Contrary Indicator for Presidential Elections
[New York Times, 6/5/12] Though most pundits are looking at the Wisconsin recall for hints of what's to come in November, Nate Silver argues that, historically, gubernatorial races can actually have a negative correlation with what happens in states during the presidential races.
Romney: Wisconsin Results Will ‘Echo’ in the Fall
[National Journal, 6/6/12] Romney pointed out on Wednesday that Walker is the first governor to survive a recall election, calling the victory a vote in favor of conservative principles that will “echo throughout the country.
Split of Popular and Electoral Vote Could Favor Obama in November
[National Journal, 6/6/12] National Journal columnist Matthew Dowd posits that Mitt Romney could win the popular vote by over a million votes but lose the Electoral College to Obama by a margin of 272 to 266. Dowd compares this scenario to the 2000 presidential election.
The Great Obama-Clinton-Summers Stimulus Fight
[New York, 6/6/12] Despite Republicans' attempt to nurture the idea that Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers do not see eye-to-eye, Obama, Clinton, and Summers are all in total agreement on economics. They disagree slightly on politics, but Obama is actually on Clinton's right on those issues.
Jeb Bush on VP Nod: 'Under No Circumstances'
[CBS, 6/6/12] Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and brother of George W. Bush, told CBS in an interview to air on Thursday morning that “under no circumstances” would he consider the veep slot on a Romney ticket, and that he’d turn down Romney if asked.
Someone Hacked Into Romney's Private E-Mail
[Gawker, 6/5/12] After e-mails from Romney’s gubernatorial days were released to The Wall Street Journal, firstname.lastname@example.org was revealed to the world. It was only a matter of time before it got hacked. The security question: What’s your favorite pet?
Romney Critical of Government Aid That Helped Bain Profit
[Bloomberg, 6/5/12] Many companies owned by Bain Capital when Romney was CEO received state and local government aid -- some of the very programs Romney has criticized during his run.