While Scott Walker ultimately prevailed in his race against Democratic nominee Tom Barrett, securing 53 percent of the vote to Barrett’s 46 percent, exit poll data indicated that Wisconsin voters are inclined to re-elect President Barack Obama by a similar margin, with 51 percent of respondents voicing support for a second Obama term, and only 44 percent expressing a desire to oust the president.
Eighteen percent of Walker’s voters said they intended to vote for President Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the fall, according to the National Journal
Although Wisconsin is considered a bona-fide swing state, the last Republican presidential candidate to win the state was President Ronald Reagan in his 1984 re-election landslide. Democrats have carried the state in each of the last six presidential elections.
In spite of Republicans’ setbacks in Wisconsin at the presidential level, Walker secured a strong victory from voters who said that officeholders should only be recalled due to official misconduct.
The contours of the Wisconsin recall electorate closely mirrored turnout patterns in 2010, with Walker successfully reassembling the coalition that powered him to victory two years ago. The governor secured 59 percent of the male vote, slightly higher than the 57 percent of males he won in 2010. He also won 57 percent of white voters, a slight improvement on his performance two years ago when he carried 55 percent of the white vote.
Party turnout was about evenly matched, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats by a single point. And while each candidate carried the lion’s share of their respective partisans — fewer than 10 percent of either Republicans or Democrats crossed party lines in the recall election —Walker’s victory was secured with the help of independent voters, who preferred the Republican by nine percentage points.
Because the recall was triggered by Walker’s push to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions, many observers expected union voters to play an operative role in the outcome of Tuesday’s election. While Walker managed to win only 38 percent of voters from union households, his 61 percent showing among non-union households was more than enough to provide a comfortable margin of victory.
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