June 5th, 2012
06:51 PM ET
11 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%.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. Richard Starkey

    Scott Walker, fabulous singer and all around good guy. What's all the buzz about the politiwonkey then?

    June 5, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. Dave

    Exit polls show that union voters are very cheesey. It also demonstrates that America pushes back once again against socialism and selfish/ lazy people who want a free ride and a fat income guarantee for below average performance.

    June 5, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. humberto

    If the best Walker can do is embezzel working people for the theft of government funds by corrupt politicians, kick him out of office !

    June 5, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. bahaha

    workers of the world unite!

    June 5, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. original nunya

    ok if someone can convince me of why we dont need unions to protect the worker in this country please do..big business will not look out for us. their obligation is to the stockholder only

    June 5, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  6. truthman

    I hope Wisconsin doesn't end up like California. Now there's an accident waiting to happen!

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

    On Wisconsin....every one is entitled to make mistakes. Today...thankfully.... we have remedied that mistake. Gratefully we have allowed this "governor" the opportunity to go and find out how it feels to be subject to his "Krooch" inspired policies as a member of the unemployed. Turnabout is indeed fair play. Now let's get this ship turned around and return to being the state we all could be proud of before the "mistake" took office.

    June 5, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. horsehitcher

    It seems that this election will probably not be settled for several days or even weeks. A recount will be called by whom ever loses the first vote. Where I voted this morning one of the poll workers was noticeably bias in my opinion and said that the voting machine was not able to be compromised when I asked to use a paper ballot rather than the machine. I exercised my right to use a paper ballot. Our poll workers were a bit confused about questions asked.

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

    All this shows is that .. 35% of those voting being Democrats, 33% Republicans, and 32% independent .. choose to fill out the exit poll.

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

    What a waste of money , Walker will be making license plates in two years.

    June 5, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. doug

    ha ha, 120% voter turn out in liberal DEMOCRAT Madison, so since the Democrats are as they always doing engaging in voter fraud they have to spread lies about Republicans doing what they factually did.

    Walker remains but Americans need to stand up to these Democrats. Walker won by 10% but it's only 5% due to Democrat fraud and corruption.

    Democrats lie about Republicans, unable to give any proof, all the while Democrat districts continue to end up with more votes than there are voters.

    It doesn't matter if you support much of what the Democrats stand for. Integrity and respect for the voice of all Americans comes first and it is clear that no Democrat has any integrity at all, due to the fact that Democrat engage in such obvious fraud and then feel no remorse in doing it, every decent American has a moral obligation to vote Republican.

    June 5, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Spike2014

    If Barrett wins, Wisconsin loses...

    June 5, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. picklepants

    after watching the videos for all theses months one thing's for sure, liberal dems are the most disgusting, vile, hateful, intolerant sub humans in the country. either way the election goes, thank god it's over for now.

    June 5, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. Ken

    Sorry lib's...that's gotta hurt. Please try again to recall Gov Walker before November. I love the way it vacuums all the money, time and energy out the state, except for the taxpayer's money of course, but lib's don't care about the taxpayer. A great, historic win for common sense. A bad defeat for the left. Any moment now cnn will begin posting long-ago written articles decrying the concept of recall elections, and how it is not a referendum on bo's record. LOL. The left is soooo easy to predict.

    June 5, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  15. Oh Come On

    "Neither party had an edge among voter's favorability".........cheese

    June 5, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. Michael

    The cheeseheads can keep him.

    June 5, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. Liebchi

    I wish we could keep things the way they were, very generous pay and benefits. It can't work anymore. In this economy, every has to take a hit. It might include paying for part of your own insurance or vying for your job by merit. Unions, please look at the unintended consequences of what you're doing. If you force the people paying your paycheck to declare bankruptcy when they are already broke, I'm sorry, but you will have no job, no benefits at all.

    June 5, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. brian

    praying for people in Wisconsin to make the right decision.

    June 5, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. libby

    What's the problem? As long as we can still print money I think we should give everybody what ever they want. Go union.

    June 5, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  20. Hugo

    With a race this close, there's no mandate.

    As for the 7% who don't decide until election day, I once didn't decide on my vote for President until I was in the booth.

    June 5, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    I think the Repuglicans are buying the election with a 10-1 money being spent in the cause. That doesn't make it fesible that the Democrats will win.

    June 5, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. SafeJourney3

    Very close race. Lots of money from the RNC citizens united. Lets see if they can buy this election.

    June 5, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. spanky

    Barret will win. Unions will win. WI will go back to debt. Koch bros will pay their fair share. The gravy train will continue.

    June 5, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. skarphace

    A close race when Walker outspent Barrett 7 to 1 is bad news for Teapublicans. They can't continue to outspend Democrats by that level in every election in 2012.

    Even a loss this close will embolden anti-Tea Party sentiment. A Barrett win will devastate the Tea Party.

    June 5, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. yamlor63

    Scott Walker is a liar. He now says Wisconsin has a surplus!!! When you borrow money on the credit card, how do you call that a surplus?

    June 5, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
1 2 3 4