Cart Ahead of Horse in Wisconsin Recall Poll

Did you see this headline in the Washington Post last week?

Scott Walker Leads in Wisconsin Recall Poll

I bet I wasn’t the only one who felt slightly sick upon reading that. The article mentions in passing that “the Democratic race has yet to really heat up.” Ya think? The signatures are still being counted! There isn’t an actual race yet, but this poll pits the one known candidate, our illustrious guv, against who? Hypothetical candidates. An actual candidate against four hypotheticals:

  1. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a “likely” candidate
  2. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, the only declared Democratic candidate
  3. Former Rep. David Obey, who has said that he doesn’t “really want to run”
  4. State Sen. Tim Cullen, who in the infamous telephone conversation with Pseudo-Koch (Ian Murphy) was described by Walker as “the only reasonable one” among the Democrats in the state legislature. Not much of a recommendation if you ask me.

Only one of the four have declared that they intend to run. If they have started putting together an organization and fund-raising, they’ve only just barely begun. Whereas Scooter, because of a “quirk in the state election law” that allows donors to contribute unlimited funds to a recall target, has been able to raise $4.5 million dollars in just five weeks. And, owing to the same “quirk,” Scooter has to spend that money in a big ol’ hurry. “In the same five weeks, the governor spent $4.9 million, a large chunk of it on TV and radio ads and direct mail solicitations. The unlimited funds must be spent before the recall is official.”

So it’s not just one actual candidate against four hypotheticals. It’s one stinkin’ rich actual candidate against four hypotheticals. To his credit, Charles Franklin, the director of the poll, did admit that “the old line ‘you don’t beat somebody with nobody’ is true.” But hey, why not go ahead and poll anyway? Just for jollies. Nobody’s going to really take this thing seriously, are they?

The early-to-the-party poll involved a whopping 701 registered Wisconsin voters. Jud Lounsbury at Uppity Wisconsin rightly pointed out that the poll is “grossly misweighted.” But far worse than that is the timing. There’s nobody—nobody—actually running against the stinkin’ rich ad-happy Scooter. A better headline for the Washington Post would have been

Cart Ahead of Horse in Utterly Meaningless Wisconsin Recall Poll

I figure the only polls Scooter and his handful of uber-rich supporters are going to feel good about for the foreseeable future are the ones like this one: completely make-believe. They’re clinging to this fiction to avoid having to think about the stark reality of this number: 1,000,000. One million signatures to recall Scott Walker. That represents a total of 46 percent of the turnout in the 2010 race for governor and is very nearly the number of votes Walker got in that election.

Croquet Walker

Here’s another meaningful number: 30,000—as in that awesome “army of more than 30,000 Wisconsin born-and-bred recall volunteers” that United Wisconsin is so rightly proud of, as are we all. The army of 30,000 isn’t done yet. Whoever Walker’s challenger is will have that same highly motivated army ready to roll up their sleeves and put the “movement” into “grassroots.” I keep telling you—we’re only just getting going. Trust me on this. The really good stuff is yet to come.