Walker recall efforts benefit… Republicans??

May 9, 2012

Through data mining:

In mid-January, Wisconsin Democrats unloaded 128 cardboard boxes from the back of a moving truck outside the Government Accountability Board, which is just around the corner from the state capitol that served as a stage for last summer’s epic legislative fight over union bargaining rights. Democrats were optimistic about the boxes’ contents, reams of petitions to set in motion the process that will subject the state’s governor, Scott Walker, to a recall vote. When, two months later, the board formally accepted the petitions, they confirmed that the truck’s arrival had consummated a staggering feat of political organizing: 900,039 valid signatures collected by 35,000 unpaid volunteers over two months. That was well over one and a half times the number required to trigger a statewide recall ballot, and nearly matched the number of votes the Democratic nominee for governor received in 2010. Walker won that election with only 1.2 million votes cast in his favor.

That math may herald the premature end of Walker’s term when he has to defend his office next month. (Democrats will select their nominee in a primary today.) But there’s a consolation for Republicans: They’re thrilled to get their hands on the petition documents, and the 900,039 names they believe will help them make sense of the state’s political geography on behalf of Mitt Romney this fall. Indeed, the boom in large-scale signature-gathering efforts—most visible in 16 different recall campaigns filed in Wisconsin over the past year, and similar efforts elsewhere in the Midwest—has fixed attention on a largely unmined source of political data that can help clarify fault lines in a difficult to gauge electorate. “They’ve just handed us the names of 900,000 people who are known, or are likely to be, anti-conservative voters. It’s a huge favor they’ve done.” says Rick Wiley, the political director of the Republican National Committee, which has 22 offices open in Wisconsin coordinating anti-recall efforts. “Without it you were stuck with somehow IDing these voters.”

Usually such information comes at great cost, and especially so in Wisconsin. Voters do not register with a party and can participate in either primary, although unlike in many states with similar laws, no record is kept of which ballot they choose. The only way to confidently sort individual voters by partisan attitudes is to contact them individually and ask. Wisconsin Republicans worked out early deals with conservative allies who would identify voters’ positions on key issues, like abortion, guns, and taxes, and add the information to voter lists. But many of the groups were restricted by the tax code from asking about partisan campaigns, and a sequence of uncompetitive statewide elections in the middle of the last decade meant few Republican organizations had the resources to do the work on their own.

12 Responses to Walker recall efforts benefit… Republicans??

  1. BIll on May 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

    It is nice to know that Donald duck of Quackenbush, Wi is a liberal Dem. that helps us a lot. Also we now know where the dems are buried in the cemetaries that to is of good use.

  2. MikeN on May 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

    They didn’t get anywhere that many people to actually vote for the recall. Usually, it’s the other way around. People who contribute money to a campaign and then don’t vote for the candidate are rare. Now we have 130,000 people who didn’t vote to recall Scott Walker after signing a petition to do so. I wonder how many of these are bogus signatures, or valid signatures by people who signed multiple petitions.

  3. Poli? on May 9, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Yo Poli…?

    No mention of NC approving the admendment to their state Constitution?
    …which saids that the ONLY legal union recognized by the state of NC is one that is solely between one man and one woman.

    That’s 31 states now with a similar admendment (with ALL 100% of the Southern states).

    Any added thought on the subject…? ? ?

  4. bobo on May 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I think your math might be off Mike, 900,000 petition signers – 670,000 voters in the dem primary = 230,000 fake, multiple, dead or confused people.

  5. Poli? on May 9, 2012 at 9:19 am


    No word on the NC Marriage amendment that past about 60%-40% last night?

    Do you have any thoughts on the subject at all ?

  6. Poli? on May 9, 2012 at 9:20 am

    sorry for the double post…
    didn’t look like it’d made it through on the first go-round.

  7. Bizman on May 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

    So now Republicans can send these people false campaign information before November’s election. You must be psyched!!

  8. MikeN on May 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I’m also throwing in the voters for the fake republican, and other candidates, but it looks like im off

  9. MikeN on May 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Now the next step is to create some fake groups and target these people for donations. I’m going with a ban SUVs group.

  10. unclefred on May 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Bizman – The information will be used in two ways.

    First no mailings or other efforts will be directed to those people, allowing resources to be more effectively targeted toward voters who can be persuaded.

    Second on election day no Republican resources will be expended to get those voters to the polls. On tactic that is used by both sides is to get your reliable voters to call the other side for a ride to the polls, thus reducing their GOTV efforts and allowing you to more effectively use your own.

  11. anonymous un-RINO on May 9, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I’ll tell you who else that data mining will help: Tommy Thompson the RINO, the guy running for the nomination for WI senator. He’ll target those people and tell them how progressive he is, so he can get their votes in the primary, and screw conservatives.

    Come to think of it, Willard will probably be doing the same thing in the general.

  12. Bizman is an idiot on May 10, 2012 at 6:44 am

    So now Republicans can send these people false campaign information before November’s election. You must be psyched!!

    Hey stupid, stop displaying your ignorance and hypocrisy. You look like a fool.