June 5th, 2012
06:51 PM ET
2 years ago

Exit polls show close Wisconsin recall race

(CNN) - Exit polling of voters in the Wisconsin recall election showed a tight contest, with a clear majority of voters having made up their minds well before the final weeks which saw intense campaigning on both sides of the aisle.

Voters were split 52%-48% with Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, taking a slight advantage over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, the CNN exit polls showed. Asked how they would vote if the presidential election were held today, a 12-point margin emerged. President Barack Obama would have carried the state with 54% to GOP candidate Mitt Romney's 42%.

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The exit polls showed that nearly nine of ten voters made their decisions in the recall election prior to May, when Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary to challenge Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. Petitions for the recall election circulated after Walker signed a bill last spring which cut collective bargaining rights for many state employees, prompting massive protests at the state house.

Only seven percent made up their minds either on Election Day or in recent days, the exit polls showed.

Numerous telephone polls showed a close election, and political analysts predicted the election would come down to turnout.

Those who went out on Tuesday to cast ballots were nearly evenly divided along party affiliation, the exit polls showed, with 35% of those voting being Democrats, 33% Republicans, and 32% independent voters.

Neither party had an edge among voter's favorability: Republicans and Democrats alike were seen as unfavorable to 50% of those who cast ballots on Tuesday, and 47% saw each party as favorable.

The electorate was also divided along their opinions of the collective bargaining limitations, with 48% disapproving and 50% approving.

Polls close in the state at 9 p.m. ET.

Also see:

Barrett says Obama visit would have been distraction

Veep contenders in the spotlight this week

Biden to grads: Don't get cynical


Filed under: Scott Walker • Tom Barrett • Wisconsin
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    wow, that is a a bunch of angry people.

    June 5, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. Blindersoff

    Get it done and move the ball!

    June 5, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. Jason P

    Wow, is it really us against them? I There is no way we fix our government unless we get rid the 2 party system.

    June 5, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Um – cut costs. State employees of Wisconsin have it TOO good at taxpayor expense. Fire em

    June 5, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Get Real

    So we can now ask to recall someone that we disagree with, Gee I can think of quite a few that I wish to exercise that right only I do not feel money from other states should be poured in for the recall in WI only WI money. Boy if Walker wins "AGAIN" what are they going to cry about next.

    June 5, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  6. Lisa P

    The Dane County Clerk is currently predicting an 80-88% turnout in Dane County, and anecdotal reports suggest there are large numbers of new voters and voters who weren't previously registered at their current addresses. Looks like it's going to be quite a day for democracy - voting should always be this important.

    June 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. OCCalif.Voter

    I rooting for you Dems. Barrett must win the recall race. It's good to know that Wisc. has a strong lean for Obama. I voted today for all Dems here in California. No Republicans at all.
    Obama2012

    June 5, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. ClemVinson

    I pray that Wisconsin sees this recall through. Walker deserves the boot, and the people, not the special interests, should rightly be the ones to do it.

    P.S. The equal pay act failed to beat cloture once again. The grand obstructionist party cares for no one but their lobbyists and donors. Vote the bums out, all of em... grrrrrrr.... blantent discrimination in this day and age should be intolerable.

    June 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. GetReady

    The shape of things to come...

    June 5, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. Loathstheright

    If Republicans win it will show just how misinformed and ignorant American voters continue to be.

    June 5, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  11. Sydnium S. Washington

    Game changer if Scott stays on his spot. Sit, play dead, bite Barrett.

    June 5, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. latergator

    Later Obama, you sure had fun ramming junk down our throats while you were unopposed for over 2 years and had complete control. Now you go back to community organizing in a few more months, and we won't miss you one bit.

    No we wont...

    June 5, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Christopher

    If the vote is close or if the governor is actually recalled, Republicans surrogates had better get ready to dig deep to thwart the will of the people come November.

    I mean, they should win this one considering all the money they've put into it, right?!

    June 5, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. chucky

    We have to stop these tea party thugs. Tax cuts on the rich only let rich people buy more imports

    June 5, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. opinion8it

    republicans outspent democrats 7 to 1 and the race is neck a' neck. No matter what happens; the republicans are the big losers here.

    June 5, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Robert

    I hope he wins. Standing against unions does not qualify you to lose your job.

    June 5, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. ttcaros

    I hope Walker loses, for the benefit of the hard working in Wisconsin.

    May God help you all.

    June 5, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. abuss1980

    As a resident in Wisconsin, I just have to say.......thank God all this crap will over with tonight.

    June 5, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. T'sah from Virginia

    Come on WI – Get out there and don't allow BIG MONEY take your vote – RECALL WALKER!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    June 5, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. danthony

    This is not just a precedent in American politics. I may just be the GOP fighting the Civil War all over again, except this time it is in there north. The same voters who favor Gov. Walker may find themselves working at sub-prime labor wages. This maybe the beginning of slave labor all over again. Only with the Supreme Court along for the ride. The supreme Courts job in this case is undo the U.S. Constitution rulings of the past.

    June 5, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. dd

    and we probably won't know the results for months..........

    June 5, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. Howie76

    This governor needs to go! Nothing more than a thug!

    June 5, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Public employee unions are by DEFINITION in an adversarial relationship with the people–or, in other words, acting in OPPOSITION to the public interest. THAT is why public employee unions should never be allowed to exist, and where they currently exist, they should be immediately disbanded. There is a place for organized labor. There are private companies that do attempt to unfairly exploit workers. But, it must be recognized that public employee unions will always–ALWAYS develop to the point where they attempt to unfairly exploit their employers–the public. This has happened in Wisconsin, and has happened all throughout this country. Public employee unions today are not the exploited. They are the exploiters!!

    June 5, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. penguin

    The one with the spoils becomes the victor. And this is what we call a "democracy." We have become a nation of the corporation for the corporation

    June 5, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. PVS1

    walker will be recalled. a sign of things to come in november. we regret to inform you that the teapocalypse will be cancelled indefinitely.

    June 5, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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