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. Melvin Painter

    As a California State government employee, my bet is on Governor Walker. He did what he said he would do, and brought their State's finance back in order. If you haven't noticed, the State government employees want to do their part. The problem is that this does not go along with the democrat's pathetic vote getting scheme's.

    June 5, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. Phil Newton

    We're doing our best to save Wisconsin the embarrassment of a felon governor.

    June 5, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  3. Cheryl Jefferies

    119% VOTER TURNOUT IN LIBERAL STRONGHOLD IN WI...LIBERALS DON'T THINK THAT IS STRANGE. Of course libs/Dems/union thugs don't think that's strange. Wisconsin allows people to register and vote right at the polls. That's asking for elections to be stolen. Typical Dem/lib/union thug tactics. And, of course, the "Injustice" Department was right on hand to make sure every illegal vote that could be had was gotten and counted. Think this is bad? Way until November. There's only one place for Obama and Holder now: either Leavenworth or Joliet. And, I'd love to throw away the key when they get taken there!

    June 5, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  4. Bob

    A better question is why isn't Scott Walker in jail? We have a phone call with him doing favors for (who he thinks) is a billionaire donor to get rid of unions and install a corporate-friendly (brainwashing) education curriculum that tells students that people should accept whatever big business gives them in wages and benefits and be thankful. They put Rob Blagojovich in jail because he promised favors for a political appointment, while Walker actually did a political hatchet job (creating a fiscal crisis in order to push his legislation through) under direct orders of the Koch Brothers. So why isn't he in jail? Or how about thrown out of office on ethics violations? A democrat emails a picture of himself shirtless and the GOP asks for blood, but selling yourself to billionaire donors is perfectly fine?

    June 5, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. Investment Advisor

    Goodnight Barrett and take the unions with you!

    June 5, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Mark in Atlanta

    Pundits have been calling the Walker recall a mistake for weeks now. I don't see it that way. He may keep his job, the effort by Wisconsin workers to fight off a Koch brothers hostile take over of their state has been nothing short of heroic. Enough is enough.

    June 5, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  7. Jay

    Walker the Koch brothers hand puppet must go!!!!!!!!!!

    June 5, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. blake

    Really? Don't count on it. Just a little far left wishful thinking.

    June 5, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  9. Turtletipr

    Why is this race even close? Can't these Wisconsin people wake up and recall that ridiculous governor?

    June 5, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  10. zip

    Grandpa, why do I make $3 an hour? Sorry kid, I voted GOP in 2012.

    June 5, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. louis

    Whatever happens here we need civility in this state when this is over..

    June 5, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. TexDoc

    If CNN is calling it too close to call, that means Walker is ahead.

    June 5, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  13. Jack Handy

    They probably will swing right as they are afraid the democrats are going to outlaw cheese curds next.

    June 5, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  14. ei8htx

    So where's the link to the hard data?

    I suspect exit polls show Walker winning, but that doesn't jive with CNN's agenda.

    June 5, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  15. ReaganDem

    This will never end until the reall issues and solutions are brought to the table instead of this constant power grabbing and manipulation.

    June 5, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Tony

    Obama leads Romney by 12 points? It is time for Republicans to recall Romney.

    June 5, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. Pale Progressive

    Walker up 61%-39% with a quarter of the vote in. Since the early vote generally trends Democratic, this isn't looking good for Barrett.

    June 5, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    exit poll says close race and results looking like a bow out, I want barret to win, but doesn't look like its going to happen, 20point is a lot to make up

    June 5, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  19. Sri Rachi

    Hooray for the end of unions sucking the cream off the top of State coffers. Unions are in the same shape the Republican party was when Obama got elected – out of touch with those who they are supposed to represent, and totally unaware of what is coming.

    I think unions were founded with noble intentions, but things like in Wisconsin – where the State is essentially being mugged under the guise of paying insurance premiums – destroy their credibility. Unions, wake up, before you find yourselves thrown to the curb by a majority of Americans.

    June 5, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  20. Dave

    Bwahhahaha, nice try CNN and MSM, close call is starting to be code for complete blow out, no wonder Obama didn't show up. Can't wait until November.

    June 5, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. vodknockers

    Conservatives/Tea Party – 1
    Public Union ARROGANCE – 0

    June 5, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  22. Robert Bell

    "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%."

    This may sound bizarre at first, but it reflect how a lot of people feel. I like President Obama, but I don't like high PROPERTY TAXES and STATE TAXES. Federal Taxes have been flat.

    I see people in State Government and at Public Schools making obscene amounts of money and having very cushy retirements – and then I get my property tax bill and realize I have to SELL MY HOUSE because I can't afford $7,000 a year in property taxes.

    People want to see the unions taken down a notch. But they don't want to see a guy like Mitt Romney as our next President. It is possible to hold both opinions at the same time.

    Not all Obama supporters are union nuts. IN fact, only a minority are. Which is why Obama smartly stayed away from this fracas.

    June 5, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. Scott

    Obama still leads the state? Who the heck votes for Barack Obama AND Scott Walker????

    June 5, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  24. Jim

    Not so close after all!

    June 5, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  25. Romney 2012

    LOL@Unions! Your power is gone! Quit leeching America and start working for a change!

    June 5, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
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