What the Wisconsin recall vote may reveal about the president’s political strength going into the fall campaign:
President Obama wasn’t on the ballot in Wisconsin, but Gov. Scott Walker’s decisive victory in last night’s gubernatorial recall is a stinging blow to his prospects for a second term. The re-election was a telltale sign that the conservative base is as energized as ever, that the Democratic GOTV efforts may not be as stellar as advertised, and that the Democratic-leaning “blue wall” Rust Belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will be very much in play this November.
Walker won by a bigger margin than he did in 2010, and with more overall votes. He carried 38 percent of union households - a slight improvement from his 2010 midterm tally — a strikingly strong number given how he’s been cast as the villain of labor. It’s a sign of the cultural divide between national Democrats and blue-collar whites, one that is particularly acute for the president.
Oh, and there is this as well:
Obama’s team is taking consolation in the fact that exit polling showed him leading Mitt Romney, 51 to 44 percent. But that’s hardly good news: with near-presidential level turnout (and notably higher level of union turnout), Obama is running five points behind his 2008 performance. Replicate that dropoff across the board, and all the key swing states flip to Mitt Romney.
For quite a while, despite Barack Obama’s political vulnerabilities, I continued to think that it would be better to be him than to be Mitt Romney.
Increasingly, I am really not sure that is the case anymore.