Evidence of just how much of a political hornet’s nest Gov. Scott Walker has stirred up with Wisconsin voters was revealed in the latest Public Policy Planning poll of the state. If voters were able to do it over again, Walker would lose the election to Democrat Tom Barrett, 52%-45%.
In the original match up last November, Walker beat Barrett 52%-46%, but according to a PPP poll if voters were given a do over, the numbers would be reversed. Today, Barrett would beat Walker, 52%-45%. The key statistic can be found among union households, as Walker support in union households would drop from 40%-33%. In the redo, Barrett would rise in union households from 54% to 64%.
Scott Walker’s support with moderates would fall from 30% to 25% today, and Tom Barrett’s would increase from 61% to 67%. Walker would lose 2 points of support with women in the state from 41% to 39%, and 3 points of support with men (42% in 2010 to 39% now). On the other hand, Barrett would gain 4 points with men (42% in 2010 to 46% now), and 5 points with women (51% in 2010 to 56% now).
The union fiasco has caused moderate Republicans to flee Walker. If the election were held today Walker’s support from members of his own party would drop from 93% to 87%. Republican support for Barrett would jump from 3% to 10%. Walker support among Independents would stay the same today, but Barrett would gain 5 points with Independents from 44% last year to 49% today.
What happened here is that many moderate Wisconsin Republicans, especially those who belong to a union are feeling some serious buyer’s remorse over their support of Scott Walker last year. Given the fact that households who said that they have a union member would now support Tom Barrett by 31 points, it is clear that Walker has inflamed the entire labor movement against him. Walker made a serious political miscalculation if he thought that the public would support his union busting efforts.
Republicans around the country seriously misjudged how the American people feel about the labor movement. A new CBS News/ New York Times poll revealed that, “Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them. Those surveyed said they opposed, 56 percent to 37 percent, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits, breaking down along similar party lines.”
If the unions are successful in beating back the Koch brothers’ union busting agenda, the question will be how much will this hurt Republicans at the polls next year? As usual Republicans have overreached and they have handed Democrats an issue that they can use to motivate their own base, and to frame the 2012 election with. All the Democratic voters that stayed home in 2010 will be out in full force in 2012.
The actions of one politically illiterate and uneducated Wisconsin governor have set the Republican Party on a path towards 2012 electoral doom. President Obama is sitting on the sidelines watching the way in over his head Scott Walker revive, unify, and motivate his Democratic Party.
After Barack Obama romps his way to reelection next year, Republicans should turn their gaze towards Madison, because it was there that Walker played the role of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, by starting the fire that became the great Democratic blaze of 2012.