UNDATED (WSAU) Some Wisconsin election observers say we’ll see more big-money political races – but it could be a long time before we see another governor’s contest in which $80-million is spent.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign estimated yesterday that $80-million had been spent on the governor’s recall battle which Republican Scott Walker survived on Tuesday. That’s more than twice the previous record set in the 2010 governor’s race. Mike McCabe of the Democracy Campaign said much of the late spending was done by national groups who tried to get the vote to fit their agendas. But it didn’t have much of an impact here. Exit polls showed that 86-percent of voters made up their minds over a month before the election. And in the end, other polls showed that at little as 2-percent were undecided, while special interests kept spending millions on ads to try and influence them.
Democrats say Walker’s large funding advantage is why Tom Barrett lost by 7-points on Tuesday. Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski said it allowed the governor to quote, “muddy the waters” on his jobs record, budget cuts, and his possible involvement in alleged corruption by his former aides in the Milwaukee County executive’s office. But Marquette pollster Charles Franklin said that if money was such a big factor, Walker would have had a much bigger lead in the polls. Franklin said that if all the negative ads had any effect, it was more on Barrett’s favorable ratings – which dropped from a statewide high of 35-percent in the Marquette polls in January and February.