Ever since I wrote a paper about the election of 1948 for an American history seminar in high school, I have been fascinated by late deciders, those voters who wait until the last minute in an electoral contest to make up their mind. Normally, late deciders break against the party in power, but in the contest I studied, they broke overwhelmingly for the incumbent, then-President Harry S Truman.
The last Gallup poll that year, taken as I recall from my paper, two weeks before the election showed then-New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey defeating Truman by a comfortable margin. This chart says it was 6 points; Wikipedia reports that the Democrat “had reduced Dewey’s 12-point summer lead in the Gallup Poll to just 5 points“.
Seems the momentum was truly in Truman’s favor.
Will we see the same thing to do in Wisconsin?* Or will late-deciding Badger State voters revert to type (for late-deciders, not Wisconsinites) and move toward Barrett. Given that some polls shows Walker hovering at 5o percent, that movement combined with a first-rate Democratic/union Get-Out-the-Vote effort today could allow his Democratic opponent to eke out a narrow victory.
Or, showing “recall fatigue,” those currently undecided voters, still uncertain about their governor, could vote for the governor more to repudiate the recall rather than to rally ’round the Republican. This isn’t the first election since Walker put forward his bold reforms that his fellow Wisconsinites have voted.
“Voters,” Walker said (as paraphrased by the National Review’s Robert Costa “are fed up with the Left’s temper tantrum, which has sustained a fiercely partisan climate of perpetual campaigns.” This recall, writes Wisconsinite Ann Althouse . . .
. . . is an unwelcome intrusion on the people of the state, and we have reason to be angry about it. Those who pushed for the recall felt angry, after losing the regular election, and this anger took them as far as it did, but it set up a newer occurrence, which was to outrage the people who expected to be left alone until the next regular election.
One of Jim Geraghty’s readers, attending a Milwaukee Brewers game, asked the couple seated next to him why people had booed when a picture of a man “holding up a ‘Vote Barrett’ sign”; “Barrett’s got no chance” flashed on the Jumbotron; they replied, “People are sick of this thing.”
People are sick of this thing. And Wisconsinites uncertain about or indifferent to the incumbent governor may choose to vote for him just to oppose Barrett, the candidate who lost to Walker in the regularly scheduled gubernatorial election in 2010 — and who is backed by those favoring the recall.
*In more ways than one. Scott Walker seems to have the momentum in this race, but hasn’t built up the same head of steam that the Missourian did nationally in 1948.