The results of a recent poll revealed that Wisconsinites are almost evenly divided on recalling Governor Scott Walker.
The poll, conducted by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, found that 48 percent favor a recall and 49 percent oppose it, according to the PPP official release.
Political science experts attribute the results of the poll to the political nature of Wisconsin.
Julia Azari, assistant professor of political science at Marquette, said Wisconsin has traditionally been a “purple” state, or one with some very Democratic areas and others dominated by Republicans.
Karen Hoffman, visiting assistant professor of political science at Marquette, said she is also not surprised the state is nearly evenly divided between Walker supporters and opponents.
“I think it will be harder to actually succeed in recalling Walker because even those opposed to Walker might not think a recall is the appropriate strategy,” Hoffman said.
The same firm conducted a poll in August of this year and yielded similar results. Then, 47 percent favored recall and 50 percent opposed it, according to the August official release by PPP.
In another recent poll done by PPP, 47 percent approved of Walker’s job performance while 51 percent disapproved. The approval rating improved by 2 percent from the August rating, according to the release.
In a hypothetical recall election posted in the October survey, Walker narrowly led Democrat and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, 48 percent to 46 percent. Walker trailed in a match-up with former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold, but Feingold has publicly stated he will not run for governor next year, according to the release.
A recall election is very real in the minds of many Wisconsinites, especially those leading the recall effort to begin on Nov. 15, when it is believed Democrats will be able to achieve the number of signatures necessary to call a recall election.
“Based on previous numbers, I think Democrats will get the signatures, but nothing like a recall is ever easy,” Azari said. “It may not be possible at all, but it certainly won’t happen without a sustained and organized campaign effort.”
Some maintain the results of the poll are to be interpreted as a reflection of voter apathy, derived from this summer’s lengthy and expensive Senate recall elections.
“I think there may be a backlash against recalls in general, regardless of how you feel about the candidates,” Hoffman said. “The summer recalls, with the incredible amount of money involved, left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. To say that Walker may not be recalled this spring does not necessarily mean that more people like him. It could mean that people are sick of recall elections.”
Wisconsin residents can attest to the growing lack of interest in recall elections.
“There is a sense of apathy,” said Willy Christensen, a junior in the College of Communication and resident of Oak Creek, Wis. “When you get away from the big cities, people do not care as much about (the recall election).”
Megan Schneck, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and Wauwatosa, Wis. resident, said the voter disinterest may be due to the length of the ongoing political saga.
“The recall effort had a lot of steam at the beginning (when Walker announced his budget cuts),” Schneck said. “But as time passes, people are becoming more ambivalent. The recall effort is old news.”