A quick introduction to the Wisconsin recall election, and the latest polls

A couple of articles to get you situated, in case you haven’t been following the recall election.

Here’s George Will in the liberal: Washington Post:

On Tuesday, in this year’s second-most important election, voters will judge the attempt by a populism of the privileged – white-collar labor unions whose members live comfortably above the American median –: to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

[…]Wisconsin, normally a paragon of Midwestern neighborliness, has been: riven by furious attempts: to punish Walker for keeping his campaign promise to change the state’s unsustainable fiscal trajectory driven by the perquisites of government employees. His progressive adversaries have, however, retreated from their original pretext for attempting to overturn the election Walker won handily just 19 months ago.

He defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. A recall is a gubernatorial election, and the: Democrats’ May primary was won by: . . .Barrett.

In 2010, government employees unions campaigned against Walker’s “5 and 12” plan. It requires government employees to contribute 5.8 percent of their pay to their pension plans. (Most were paying less than 1 percent. Most private-sector workers have no pensions; those who do pay, on average, much more than 5.8 percent.): Walker’s reform: requires government employees to pay 12.6 percent of their health-care premiums (up from 6 percent but still less than the 21 percent private-sector average). Defeated in 2010, the unions now are demanding, as frustrated children do after losing a game, “Let’s start over!”

Here’s Tim Stanley in the: UK Telegraph: to explain whether Walker’s plan worked:

On the one hand, last year Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state and private sector growth has been sluggish. Walker cut tax relief to low income families and the state’s Medicaid program. He also forced Planned Parenthood to restrict some of its services. Anti-union, anti-women and anti-spending — no wonder Justin Beiber is so angry.

On the other hand, unemployment has actually fallen in the state and the budget is balanced. That last thing was a major achievement, because Walker inherited a deficit of $3.6 billion when he took office in 2010. By reducing the cost of public services, the Governor has not only held the line on taxes but also cut them.


Walker earned his narrow lead by breaking the Democrats’ inbuilt advantage in state politics — perhaps permanently. He did it with one simple reform. Before Walker, union member dues were paid straight from the employer to the union. The member never got to see the money and, likely, never thought about how much he was losing. After passage of Walker’s reforms, the money now goes into the employee’s pay packet first and they then get to choose whether or not to give it to the union. Unsurprisingly, workers have taken one look at the substantial contributions they have been asked to make and… said, “Hell no!”: To quote the Wall Street Journal, “Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – the state’s second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers – fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011 … Much of that decline came from Afscme Council 24, which represents Wisconsin state workers, whose membership plunged by two-thirds to 7,100 from 22,300 last year.”

The latest polls from PPP and Angus Reid show governor Scott: Walker: leading Barret by three points and six points, respectively.

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