iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Byron Williams

GET UPDATES FROM Byron Williams
 

What Does Wisconsin Say About the General Election?

Posted: 06/07/2012 11:26 am

Now that we've had a few hours to catch our breath: What does the Wisconsin recall election results in June tell us about the potential general election outcome in November?

Is there is a linear connection between what happens in June and what will occur in November? Or do you subscribe to the theory that the Wisconsin electorate are a static lot incapable of making any distinctions whatsoever? Then President Obama is in a great deal of trouble politically.

If were honest, the results don't tell us much.

Being from California, I was never a fan of the recall against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. My philosophical political loyalties were opposed to his attempts to dismantle the collective bargaining rights of public workers, but elections have consequences.

Recall is an extreme step that should not be taken lightly. Unless Walker was found guilty of criminal malfeasance, to use the recall based on an issue or set of issues seems not to serve the long-term interests of the state (see California recall pf 2003). Moreover, recall elections reflect reactionary politics, which rarely produce the desired outcomes.

But the recent result do not suggest we prematurely place Wisconsin in the category for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in November. If anything, the results were encouraging for President Obama.

According to CNN exit polls, Obama lead Romney 54 percent to 42 percent among Wisconsin voters. Even more significantly, 45 percent of voters said Obama would be better for the economy, compared to 37 percent who thought Romney would be better.

According ABC exit polling, the president held a six-point lead over Romney.

Some suggested that president should have done more to influence the outcome in Wisconsin. The president did well not to participate in the recall election. His participation in what was specific to Wisconsin could have cheapened the presidency, making it less likely the exit polling would have reflected as favorably as it did.

One election result does not begat another. The results say nothing for Walker's re-election chances, let alone the presidential outcome in November.

In spite of the "shirts and skins" political analysis that dominates our public discourse, the people of Wisconsin can hold seemingly contradictory positions (Not to recall the Republican Gov. Walker and support the Democratic President Obama.)

The Wisconsin results may not be what Democratic loyalist wanted, but just below the surface is a hopeful outcome not only for the president in November, but also for the republic long-term.

 

Follow Byron Williams on Twitter: www.twitter.com/byronspeaks

FOLLOW POLITICS