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Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Previous posts have discussed recall electionsCBS reports that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker beat back an effort to recall him from office, defeating challenger Tom Barrett (as he did in 2010). 
Walker is the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election. Gov. Gray Davis of California was recalled in 2003, and in 1921, North Dakota's Governor Lynn Frazier of was ousted due to a recall.

The heated recall race began amid the controversy created when Walker released a state budget proposal that included limiting the collective bargaining rights for public union workers. In response, large demonstrations protesting Walker's plan took place at the state capital building which eventually led to a recall effort. Voters who turned out for this election narrowly supported Walker's handling of the collective bargaining issue: 52 percent approved, and 47 percent disapproved.

Voters were similarly divided when asked about the state law that limited the collective bargaining rights of government workers: 52 percent approved, and 47 percent disapproved.

As expected, those voters who approved of Walker's policies voted overwhelmingly or the governor. Opponents of his policies backed Barrett, the Democrat.

Wisconsin voters were also split in their views of unions for government workers. According to exit polls, 51 percent said they viewed these unions favorably; slightly fewer - 45 percent - held unfavorable opinions.

Wisconsin voters had strong opinions on the merit of recall elections. Sixty percent told exit pollsters that recall elections are only appropriate when there has been official misconduct, and another 10 percent think such elections are never appropriate. Just 27 percent of Wisconsin voters supported holding recall elections for any reason.