Michael Barone takes a look at the recall election returns and concludes:
these results show Republicans about as strong as they were in 2010, when Republican Scott Walker was elected governor by a 52%-46% margin, and they show Democrats weaker than they were in 2008, when Barack Obama carried Wisconsin 56%-42%.
Barone is correct. In 2010, Scott Walker won statewide with 52.3 percent of the vote, while winning these six swing districts, on average, with 55.7 percent of the vote.
In yesterday's six recall elections, the average GOP performance was 52.9 percent--a drop of 2.8 percentage points compared to Walker's 2010 performance.
If you throw out the district of Randy Hopper--who polled behind Walker and underperformed due to a scandal--the remaining five Republicans ran just 1.6 percentage points behind Walker's 2010 performance.* That's a good indication that support for Walker among actual voters is hovering just above 50 percent.
Walker's reelection isn't a sure thing if Democrats want to run a recall campaign against him, but that's a pretty strong position for him right now. In the coming year, as voters will see the benefits of his collective bargaining law, will Walker's position strengthen or weaken? I'd say the former. But we'll see if Democrats want to take a chance.
*Here's the breakdown of the numbers comparing Walker's 2010 performance to yesterday's results:
Walker 2010 average in six swing districts: 55.7
GOP 2011 average in six swing districts: 52.9
Walker's 2010 average in five swing districts (excludes Hopper): 55.3
GOP 2011 average in five swing districts (excludes Hopper): 53.7
SD 32: Walker 49.5, Kapanke 44.6 (Minus 4.9)
SD 10: Walker 58.2, Harsdorf 57.7 (Minus 0.5)
SD 8: Walker 54.2, Darling 53.7 (Minus 0.5)
SD 14: Walker 57.4, Olsen 52.1 (Minus 5.3)
SD 2: Walker 57.4, Cowles 60.4 (Plus 3.0)
SD 18: Walker 57.2, Hopper 48.9 (Minus 8.3)