New polls in Wisconsin show close races for three Republicans facing recall

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July 26, 2011

By Greg Janetka

Seal of Wisconsin.svg.png
2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results

MADISON, Wisconsin: Despite the high profile of the recall elections, few polls have been released to the public. Three new polls conducted by Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos show Democratic challengers leading in one race and trailing in two. The polls, conducted July 21-24 of likely voters, are the second commissioned by Daily Kos, who previously addressed the three other districts where Republicans face recall. All three have a margin of error below +/- 3.4 percent. Here are the results:[1]


August 9, 2011 Recall - District 2 - Daily Kos/PPP Poll
Candidate Party Percent
Robert Cowles Ends.png Republican 51%
Nancy Nusbaum Electiondot.png Democratic 47%
Undecided 2%

Cowles did not face an opponent when he ran for re-election in 2008.[2]

Wisconsin State Senate, District 2 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Robert Cowles (R) 60,507


August 9, 2011 Recall - District 8 - Daily Kos/PPP Poll
Candidate Party Percent
Alberta Darling Ends.png Republican 52%
Sandy Pasch Electiondot.png Democratic 47%
Undecided 1%

In 2008, Darling defeated Sheldon Wasserman by just over 1,000 votes.[3]

Wisconsin State Senate, District 8 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Alberta Darling (R) 50,125
Sheldon Wasserman 49,118


August 9, 2011 Recall - District 14 - Daily Kos/PPP Poll
Candidate Party Percent
Fred Clark Electiondot.png Democratic 49%
Luther Olsen Ends.png Republican 47%
Undecided 4%

In 2008, Olsen did not face an opponent in his bid for re-election to the Senate.[4]

Wisconsin State Senate, District 14 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Luther Olsen (R) 54,138

Wisconsin Truth Tour

Labor union organizers have moved their protests to the road with what they are calling the “Wisconsin Truth Tour.” A press release from the state AFL-CIO called the tour “a vehicle for citizens to tell how they have personally been impacted to their friends, family, neighbors and the media."[5] It began in Green Bay on July 16 and will continue until August 2, traveling through each of the eight recall districts.

Sen. Randy Hopper (R) dismissed the tour, saying, “I don't need a high price special interest bus to come in my district and tell the people what it's been like the last two years in the state.”[6]

Moore vs. Harsdorf

Sheila Harsdorf (R) and Shelly Moore (D) faced off for the first time in a debate last night sponsored by Harsdorf opened the debate, saying, “I'm not being recalled because I did anything wrong. I'm being recalled because I stood up to special interests.” Moore said recall was “the right of the people,” and that it was happening because the voice of the people was not being heard.[7] Many issues were addressed by both candidates, including balancing the state budget, government priorities, collective bargaining, and campaign finance. They will meet in at least three more debates, with the next scheduled for Wednesday night.[8]

King vs. Hopper

Jessica King (D) recently asked Randy Hopper (R) to stop airing a TV ad because it distorted her record while on the Oshkosh Common Council. An investigation by PolitiFact gave the claims in Hopper’s ad a “Pants on Fire” rating. The ad wars continued with another PolitiFact investigation released today, this time dealing with claims made against Hopper in an ad by King.[9]

The TV ad in question, released on July 12, states that “Senator Hopper didn’t pay taxes,” while the middle class did, citing an October 2008 article in the Fond du Lac Reporter as the source. Records from the state Department of Revenue show that Hopper’s five businesses did not have any state incombe tax liability between 1998 and 2007, and during that period Hopper himself only had a tax liability in 2006, which he appears to have paid. PolitiFact gave the claim a “Barely True” rating.[9]

Simac vs. Holperin

The National Rifle Association gave Sen. Jim Holperin (D) an “A” rating and endorsed him in the race for the 12th District. Holperin said, “I’m grateful to the NRA for recognizing my legislative record of protecting gun rights and our northwoods hunting heritage. I’m proud to have the organization’s endorsement and I intend to continue working to advance legislation that protects 2nd amendment rights.”[10]

Holperin’s Republican opponent, Kim Simac, has been a vocal proponent of gun-rights and wrote a children’s book entitled With My Rifle by My Side. The publisher describes the book, which has won praise from Glenn Beck, as “a story written for young children to encourage an appreciation and respect for appropriate firearm use.”[11]

See also


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