In Wisconsin, another good poll shows the distinct possibility that Democrats will be able to take back the state Senate, as retribution for passage of an anti-union law that eliminates most forms of collective bargaining for almost all public employees.
The poll looks at the race between Republican Sen. Luther Olsen and Democrats Fred Clark in Senate District 14, and finds that Clark would win the August 9 recall election. The poll finds Clark up 45-43 among all voters, a seven-point swing from May. It also finds Clark up 50-44 among likely recall voters, and up 49-41 among voters who went to the polls in the April state Supreme Court election in Wisconsin. Most important, Olsen has a ceiling: he hasn’t budged off 43% among all voters since May.
Olsen is the fourth Senate Republican shown to be behind in a poll, joining Dan Kapanke, Randy Hopper and Robert Cowles. Alberta Darling is shown as even with her opponent in the latest poll, and Sheila Harsdorf is barely ahead. Democrats are ahead or competitive in all six recalls. Democrats only need three to flip the Senate. On August 16, two recall elections against incumbent Democrats will wrap up, but the Dems are favored in those.
If the recalls are successful, it will build momentum for a recall of Gov. Scott Walker, who has bad approval ratings and is seen as the primary distributor of the right-wing agenda that has enveloped Wisconsin this year. Walker has been raising considerable sums for an off-year, suggesting that he is preparing for such a fight. And there’s speculation that Republican allies will try to time the recall, by submitting their own recall petition, to coincide with the Republican Presidential primary in the state, to maximize GOP voters for the recall. Of course, Democrats could retaliate by triggering a primary on that date by running multiple challengers, moving the general election recall to a month later. But their preference would be for connecting the recall with the November 2012 election.
But that gets ahead of ourselves. For the moment, the big news is that the Senate recalls are increasingly likely to flip the chamber in favor of the Democrats.