Losing the middle in Wisconsin?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by OPTIONAL777, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Just two months into a four-year term, Gov. Scott Walker has staked his administration on a controversial plan to weaken public employee unions and a budget that cuts hundreds of millions of dollars from schools, local governments, health care and other state programs.

    Even before the GOP-led Legislature hastily approved the union measure late last week on disputed votes, polls showed Wisconsin residents opposed the governor's union proposal by roughly a two-to-one margin.

    And cuts in the Republican governor's two-year budget proposal are broad and likely to touch most state residents.

    Whether Walker wins over Wisconsin voters on both counts depends on whether unions and Democrats can harness anger over the bargaining bill and turn it into political muscle; whether the public cares more about keeping taxes down than enduring any pain inflicted by budget cuts; and perhaps most importantly, whether the slumping economy improves during his term.

    "It's still uncertain whether the anger and intensity on the Democratic side will still be there in 2012," said Barry Burden, a UW-Madison professor of political science.

    "He may do damage to his party in the interim. They may lose their majorities in the Legislature. But he has time to recover as a governor. It depends somewhat on the economy."

    Much of the Legislature and the president are up for re-election in 2012, which will be a test of Walker's popularity, Burden said. Walker would go before voters in 2014 if he seeks re-election, and Democrats and union members say they'll try to recall Walker next year.

    Recall elections for eight Republican senators could take place even earlier. Eight Democrats are also facing a recall.

    Mike Tate, Democratic Party chairman, said last week his party will focus on Senate recalls first before thinking about a Walker recall effort.

    "The barrier for recall is very high in Wisconsin," Tate said. "You can't buy or manufacture a recall. If you recall someone in Wisconsin, it's because people are angry."

    Mark Jefferson, executive director of the state Republican Party, said a recall wouldn't work with Walker because after a series of Senate recall attempts, "the public is going to be gassed with recalls."

    Losing the middle?

    Paul Maslin, a Madison-based Democratic political consultant who conducted polling for Walker's 2010 opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, likened Walker's fortunes to former New Jersey governor Jim Florio. After being elected in 1989, Florio pushed through unpopular tax increases early in his term to balance the budget and raise education spending. The backlash was swift and immediate, and Florio never recovered.

    "Walker's calculation was time would be his friend here. He did a tough thing and if the economy gets better and if they fix the budget, the people in the middle — not the Democrats — would come back to him," Maslin said. "I think he messed that up."

    The political maneuvers used last week by the Legislature to strip most public unions of most of their collective bargaining power will damage Walker, he predicted.

    "Walker's in serious jeopardy," Maslin said. "This is a bad budget, a horrible bill and now there's an undemocratic outrage that boggles the mind. I don't know what they're thinking. They're losing the middle big time."

    Jim Troupis, a lawyer who represents Republicans and conservative causes, agreed it's smart for new governors to introduce controversial proposals early in their terms. But he rejected the Florio analogy because Walker isn't raising taxes.

    "Gov. Walker is making people face the issue," he said. "There is an enormous amount of respect that goes to a CEO, a governor, a president that says, 'We can't avoid the issue anymore. Let's debate it. Let the winner win.'"

    Walker told State Journal reporters and editors recently that voters want him to balance the budget without raising taxes and he is willing to make hard choices.

    "If I governed based on polls, I'd still be in the state Assembly," Walker said.

    Jefferson predicted the public will warm to Walker's collective bargaining move when they realize most federal workers can't bargain collectively, nor can most private sector workers in Wisconsin.

    Walker can regain support

    The governor was poised for a quick victory Feb. 11 when he introduced a proposal to curtail collective bargaining for public workers as part of a bill to close a $137 million short-term budget gap. But 14 Democratic senators fled the state to deny the Senate the necessary quorum to pass the bill. It also allowed opponents to stage massive rallies at the Capitol.

    But last week, Republicans pulled the collective bargaining language from the budget repair bill and passed it separately over the objections of Democrats, who argued lawmakers violated the open meetings law.

    Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said Walker can regain public support but state voters will remember how the bill passed.

    "Most Americans want a governor to be more of a unifier than a divider," he said. "No matter what the merits of these proposals, Walker comes across as a bulldozer. That's not Wisconsin."

    The phone call Walker fielded from a blogger pretending to be wealthy campaign donor David Koch also hurt the governor politically, Sabato said.

    "The veil dropped," he said of the call. "It's just fundamentally embarrassing. It will be permanently a part of his record. He'll never get away from it."

  2. Lucrum


    So? They're broke, they have to cut back.

    Bull shit.

    "Do you think government employees should be represented by labor unions that bargain for higher pay, benefits and pensions, or do you think government employees should not be represented by labor unions?

    Should 29%
    Should not 64%
    Good, everyone needs to get used to the idea.
  3. Lucrum


    What, no comment about your bull shit "polls show" statement that is debunked by one of YOUR favorite web sites? Don't you read what you post before a copy and paste?

    And tell me what was that you were saying about wanting to share with us only that which can be verified? :D Jeez TrollZz, you got some serious egg on your face here. LOL
  4. Just maybe, there is more than on poll guys. And perhaps, questions are asked a bit differently, depending on the desired results:

    Among those asked about weakening collective bargaining rights, 56% supported the union and 41% supported the Governor.

    Additionally, 49% believe it’s good that most teachers belong to a union. Among those with children in the public school system, 58% believe that’s a good thing.


  5. +1

    What else would you expect from MASTURBATIONZZZ? :p
  6. Lucrum


    So you like rasmussen polls over Huff and Puff post polls huh? All the time, or does it depend on whether you like the results?

  7. You've made my point for me. I just don't like using polls that may be simply nothing more than a poorly asked question to answer a real question. The old - do you still beat your wife - scenario.

    It's too bad that most polls are seem to be pretty subjective based on biased questions and polling methods. Do they still limit them to land lines? How stupid is that? Good way to manipulate the ages of the participants.

  8. Lucrum


    If you don't mind, what's not to like about this poll question?
    You think it's misleading? Is Huff and Puff intentionally posting a "faulty" poll to promote their pro union agenda?

    Do you think government employees should be represented by labor unions that bargain for higher pay, benefits and pensions, or do you think government employees should not be represented by labor unions?

    Should 29%
    Should not 64%
  9. Lucrum


    Hey TrollZz how about that Huff&Puff poll question eh? :D
  10. Did you post all the polls from that article from Huffpost?

    You must be desperate for attention today.

    #10     Mar 15, 2011