Based on the New York Times exit poll, we can make a few snap judgements about the failed attempt to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
- Union households and non-union households voted completely differently. About one-third of the voters in yesterday’s recall election said they or a member of their household belongs to a union. They voted 62 percent for Democrat Tom Barrett, while 61 percent of those with no union member in the household voted for Walker.
- Independents voted for Walker, self-described moderates for Barrett. Walker carried 54 percent of independents, who were 31 percent of the electorate. Voters identifying with the two major parties polarized. But Barrett took 54 percent of the 44 percent of voters who describe themselves as moderate. Walker was fortunate that conservatives gave him 86 percent of the vote, the same percentage Barrett got among the much smaller slice of liberals.
- Voters narrowly approved of Walker’s collective bargaining reforms. The exits found that 52 percent supported the reforms that led to the recall while 47 percent opposed them.
- Voters approved of Walker’s handling of job creation. Fully 54 percent approved of Walker’s efforts to create jobs, while 46 percent disapproved. That’s close to the final outcome between Walker and Barrett.
- The people who voted in the recall election still prefer Barack Obama to Mitt Romney. Obama beats Romney 51 percent to 44 percent in the exit poll. Interestingly, nearly one in five Obama voters supported Walker while only 6 percent of Romney voters favored Barrett.
There’s some limit to what this shows nationally, though it will surely embolden other Republican governors and legislators to replicate Walker’s collective bargaining reform. It will warm feet that got cold after Ohio Gov. John Kasich was previously rebuked on this issue via a ballot initiative.
UPDATE: Michael Barone resamples the Wisconsin exit polls to match the results and finds a 48-48 breakdown between Romney and Obama.