- Posted May 25, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Election 2012: Your stories
Senate Race, Not Recall Vote Insight to Fall Election
Smart Politics of the University of Minnesota stated that it is not the recall election of Governor Scott Walker against Mayor Tom Barrett that gives insight into how Wisconsin will cast its vote in the general election match-up between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, but rather it is the showdown between the GOP and Democratic senatorial candidates that will be the key tot that outcome.
The Badger State has voted for the same party in presidential and U.S. Senate races in 14 of 16 cycles over the last century.
A recent Smart Politics report found Wisconsin to be one of the Top 3 battleground states in presidential politics over the last 100 years, and the battleground state of the last 40 years.
For while the Badger State has trended Democratic in recent presidential cycles, the vast majority of contests have been very competitively decided.
The state is currently immersed in the recall election of Republican Governor Scott Walker, but the outcome of that race on June 5th will likely be less of a barometer of what will happen at the top of the ticket in the presidential race this November than the trajectory of the state's U.S. Senate race.
Of course, it is usually the top of the ticket contest that influences races races down the ballot, not vice versa, but with Wisconsin's history of extremely competitive presidential elections, the Romney vs. Obama battle may go down to the wire in a toss-up. (Obama has enjoyed a single-digit lead in most matchup polls over the last couple months).
As such, looking at the state's 2012 U.S. Senate race to replace the retiring Herb Kohl may just give an indication of where the presidential race will ultimately end up in Wisconsin.
The candidates on the Republican side will not be solidified until after a contested primary in mid-August, although former four-term GOP governor Tommy Thompson is the current favorite to take on Democratic U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin.
Thompson has been leading Baldwin in the polls for most of the year.
If Thompson (or whoever emerges as the Republican nominee) should win the seat in November and the state votes once again to reelect President Obama, it would be just the third time Wisconsinites would split their ticket for these two federal offices over the past century.
So what can we learn from the June 5th gubernatorial recall election as it pertains to Obama's reelection chances in 5+ months?
While the Badger State has not had a race for governor in a presidential cycle since 1964, prior to that period the state frequently split its vote for these two races at the top of the ballot during the period under analysis.
As for any potential advantage Mitt Romney might have in picking off this battleground state with Scott Walker in office at the time of the general election, a previous Smart Politics report demonstrated there is no correlation between a state's vote for president and the party of the sitting governor.
The state has actually voted into office more presidents from the opposing party of the sitting governor (six) than the same party (five) since 1968.
Based on the Smart Politics information, it may be better for Romney to have Walker recalled.
At the same time, it may be better for the President if Walker beats the recall attempt.
From the Cornfield, Wisconsin voters will vote June 5th to either retain or replace Walker. It should be interesting.