Republicans in Wisconsin are more interested in voting than Democrats

From the exotic land of neighboring Wisconsin comes a Marquette University poll today showing Republican Gov. Scott Walker sitting in a pretty good position for his recall election in three weeks.

The poll shows Walker with a 6-percentage-point lead over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

That’s interesting enough, but this nugget is, too: Republicans are more interesting in voting than Democrats and Independents are:


Republicans are more likely to say they are “absolutely certain” to vote on June 5, at 91 percent, than are Democrats and independents, both at 83 percent. In other areas of participation, Republicans also have an advantage. Sixty-two percent of Republicans say that they have tried to persuade someone to vote for or against a candidate, compared to 54 percent among Democrats and 48 percent among independents. Democrats, however, are more likely to have been contacted by a campaign, 83 percent, to 78 percent for Republicans and 76 percent among independents. These rates are for all registered voters in the sample, not just likely voters.

Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin noted, “While both parties show unusual levels of involvement in the campaign, Republicans appear to hold an advantage in likely turnout, although Democrats are more likely to have been contacted by a campaign. In a close election with so few undecided voters, enthusiasm, turnout and campaign contact with voters may make the difference.”

What’s going on here?

Maybe Democrats in Wisconsin are paying attention to Democrat Jonathan Zimmerman, who wrote in the L.A. Times last week…


As a liberal, I’m troubled by the prospect of voters unseating an elected official over taxes. Or abortion. Or gun control. If you can recall leaders for any political reason, sooner or later your own ox will be gored.

I’m also worried that the Wisconsin recall, which has drawn nationwide attention and money, will trigger a vicious cycle of partisan retribution. Your guy didn’t win in November? No problem. Start a recall drive now.

Most of all, though, I fear that the recall threat will make our elected officials even more timid and poll-tested than they already are. Sometimes, great leaders need to take unpopular positions.

  • vjacobsen

    Well, except recalls aren’t allowed everywhere and where they are allowed, there is usually a pretty high threshold before allowing a recall election. The California recall was quite awhile ago and it didn’t seem to spark any huge waves of similar recall efforts. It seems like it’s worse in parts of Europe, where a vote of “no-confidence” can toss out leaders of coalition governments.

  • John P.

    I wonder if they counted watching Fox News or listening to Rush as being “contacted by the campaign”.

  • Heather

    Personally, I can’t wait to vote for Barrett.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Charming fellow, Mr. Zimmerman. Perhaps he should consider climbing down from his ivory tower and participate in a little more political action and a little less intellectual self stimulation.

    Or perhaps he’s fantasizing about running for office someday himself.

  • jon

    I’m sorry, I’m supposed to believe that some one writing for the LA Times, is going to blame Wisconsin for setting off a slippery slope of recalling elected officials? Sorry California, but you started this mess, and your recall ended up with a professional body builder turned movie star being put in office. (not that we have much room to talk in Minnesota as we started the “If they can fight a predator, they can run my state” trend.)

    On the topic of WI democrats not voting, I think we all know that when there is a vote to be had WI Democrats flee to IL hotel rooms to hide out until it’s over! (Ba Dum Dum)

  • Bob Collins

    Zimmerman is not a Californian, he’s a professor of American history at NYU.