Poll: Wisconsin residents approve of recall -- just not in current practice
By Greg Janetka
MADISON, Wisconsin: A new poll shows Wisconsin citizens overwhelmingly approve of the state's recall provision, but a majority also do not want to see senators recalled. The poll, conducted by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center, showed residents are generally unhappy with the entire political state of affairs. 59 percent said they disapprove of Gov. Scott Walker's (R) job performance, while 60 percent disapprove of the State Legislature's performance. The survey included four recall specific questions, which were as follows:
- 1. "As you might know, there are efforts underway to recall several Wisconsin state senators from both political parties. In general, do you think it's a good thing or bad thing that the Wisconsin constitution provides a way to recall the state's elected officials?"
- 78% said it is a good thing, 18% said it was bad
- 2. "Do you feel better or worse about Wisconsin politics because of the recall elections that will happen this year?"
- 50% felt better because of the recalls, and 40% felt worse
- 3. "There have been calls for a recall election for Senate Democrats who left the state in opposition to the Governor‟s budget proposal. Do you think the Senate Democrats should be removed from office with a recall election, or do you think they should remain in office?"
- 59% would like to see Democrats remain in office, 36% would like them to be removed
- 4. "There have been calls for recall elections for Senate Republicans who sided with the Governor in the budget debate. Do you think the Senate Republicans should be removed from office with a recall election, or do you think they should remain in office?"
- 49% would like to see Republicans remain in office, 45% would like them to be removed
The state Democratic Party also released information about polling it recently conducted via the Mellman Group. Those polls, which had a margin of error of +/- 4.9%, show all six Republican senators facing recall have approval ratings under 50 percent.
It was announced today that Shelly Moore (D) and incumbent Republican Sheila Harsdorf will face off in a debate sponsored by Husdon Patch on July 25. It will be closed to the public, with only invited guests and the media able to see it live.
Both candidates expressed an eagerness to discuss the issues. Moore stated, "I look forward to a substantive debate about the issues facing the 10th state Senate district this summer," while Harsdorf said, "I look forward to talking about what this unprecedented recall effort is all about and who's driving it."
A press release from Moore's campaign details three total debates - the second will be put on by the American Association of University Women on July 27, a third will be sponsored by the River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau on July 28, with the last being the Wisconsin Public Radio Candidate Forum on August 4.
While other races have recently talked about debates, this is the first officially announced between an incumbent Republican and the Democratic challenger.
A report from MediaTrackers.com, a nonprofit conservative research and news website, alleges that a survey was conducted by AFL-CIO of voters in District 22. The survey, according to voter and Kenosha resident Nate Hunter, only allowed for the choice of two candidates -- incumbent Robert Wirch (D) or Fred Ekornaas (R). Ekornaas is facing Jonathan Steitz (R) in the Republican primary for the district this coming Tuesday. The Steitz campaign called the move intentional, citing the fact that Steitz has outraised Ekornaas and could prove to be a greater threat to Wirch's ability to retain his Senate seat. Neither the Ekornaas or Wirch campaign responded to the story. 
Republicans are pushing ahead with their agenda to complete redistricting before the recall elections by calling the legislature into special session. The state Senate Judiciary Committee held a vote today on three redistricting bills, with full Senate and Assembly votes coming next week.
Legislative hearings on the proposed maps were held on July 13. Republicans defended their maps as legally sound, while Democrats said the plans are unconstitutional and nothing short of gerrymandering.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said a review of the maps show two Democratic challengers in the upcoming recall elections - Assemblyman Fred Clark and Nancy Nusbaum would be moved out of the districts they are currently running in. Incumbent Sen. Robert Wirch, the target of a recall, would also be removed from his district.
The new plan would additionally further bolster three Republican held state Senate seats, including recall target Alberta Darling. If Republicans had not run protest candidates in the six Democratic primaries on July 12, the recalls would have occurred instead, with the potential to flip Senate control to the Democrats.
- Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011)
- Wisconsin State Senate
- Laws governing recall in Wisconsin
- Redistricting in Wisconsin
- Political Wire, "Slim Majority Don't Want Wisconsin Lawmakers Recalled," July 14, 2011
- University of Wisconsin Survey Center, "UW Badger Poll #32, Release #1," July 13, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gov. Walker, lawmakers fare poorly in poll," July 13, 2011
- Hudson Patch, "Hudson Patch to Host First Debate Between Shelly Moore and Sheila Harsdorf," July 15, 2011
- River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, "Legislative Moderated Forum," accessed July 15, 2011
- WisPolitics, "Moore Campaign: Shelly Moore accepts four debates," July 15, 2011
- Washington Examiner, "Big labor tactics questioned in Wisconsin recall campaign," July 15, 2011
- WisPolitics, "Senate committee to vote on redistricting," July 15, 2011
- Superior Telegram, "GOP releases redistricting plan," July 11, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How the GOP redistricting plan protects 3 Republican state senators," July 11, 2011