An arithmetic problem
May 17, 2012
More than one commentator has remarked about the missing voters in last Tuesday’s primary. But as dramatic as the numerical drop-off may appear, it’s not unprecedented and it’s no reason to assume the June 5 election is wrapped up for Governor Walker.
We refer to the large drop-off from the number of recall petition signatures filed with the Government Accountability Board (GAB), compared with the votes cast for Democrats in the primary.
Let’s assume the near-20,000 who voted for Walker’s opponent in the Republican primary pick Tom Barrett in June.
That would give Walker opponents a combined total of 690,208 votes. Set aside Walker’s amazing performance, attracting more votes in his near-meaningless primary than the top two Democrats combined. Voters who want somebody else in the governor’s office still outnumbered Walker loyalists by almost 64,000.
The GAB says recall supporters filed 900,939 signatures. We take that number with a large grain of salt, but lacking a better one… Subtract votes cast for Walker opponents from signatures filed, and you discover 210,731 primary-day no-shows. The drop-off slightly exceeds 23 percent.
The two-part lesson: 1) There is a serious commitment gap on the pro-recall side; and 2) Lazily assuming that gap means Governor Walker is safe is the surest possible way to let Tom Barrett pull off a sickening upset June 5th.