Fox News figures have attempted to spin the results of Wisconsin's recall election to claim Gov. Walker's victory is a referendum on President Obama. In fact, polling shows Obama holding a significant lead over Romney in Wisconsin, and even conservatives admit the election is a poor predictor of Obama's re-election bid.
Fox Claims Walker Victory Shows Obama "Has Lost Here In Wisconsin"
Palin: Obama "And His Message, His Mission, Has Lost Here In Wisconsin." On the June 5 edition of Fox News' On The Record, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin claimed "obviously, [President Obama] and his message, his mission, has lost here in Wisconsin." From On The Record:
PALIN: I think that the Democrats there understand that the president's no-show represents the fact that Obama's goose is cooked as more and more Americans realize that what Wisconsin has just manifested via this vote, embracing austerity and fiscal responsibility, is the complete opposite of what President Obama and the White House represents today.
They want to grow government. They want to take more away from the private sector. They want to quash that entrepreneurial spirit and resource development opportunities from America, so that a centralized, growing government will take the private sector's place.
Well, Wisconsin wasn't going to put up with that. The rest of the nation won't put up with that. So Obama did have to distance himself from the solutions that [Governor Scott] Walker and [Lieutenant Governor Rebeccah] Kleefisch and their administration represented. He had to stay away.
I believe that the president will lose the health care battle in the Supreme Court. And obviously, he and his message, his mission, has lost here in Wisconsin, which is kind of a microcosm of the rest of America. So things aren't looking real good for President Obama. [Fox News, On The Record, 6/6/12]
Kilmeade On Wisconsin Exit Polls Showing Obama Leading Romney: Were Voters "Telling The Truth?" On the June 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade reacted to Wisconsin exit polls showing Obama with a significant lead over Obama by asking if poll respondents were "telling the truth." From Fox & Friends:
KILMEADE: A few things to say about that. Number one, the exit polling show - right before we got the final tallies or the initial tallies - that this was too close to call.
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): The early exit polls were wrong.
KILMEADE: Right. So were people telling the truth when they came out of the booth and when they're asked the question, President Obama or Governor Mitt Romney? Were they telling the truth? Because was it too close to call? Because look at the results right now for those people who showed up in Wisconsin and there are a lot of them. 51-44, that state belongs to President Obama right now according to the exit polling. But I'm wondering if Mitt Romney starts pouring in money, that will also mean that President Obama has got to respond. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/6/12 via Media Matters]
But Walker's Victory Is A Poor Predictor Of Obama's General Election Support
Nate Silver: "Governors' Races Can Be a Contrary Indicator for Presidential Elections." In a June 5 post titled "Governors' Races Can Be a Contrary Indicator for Presidential Elections" on The New York Times' blog FiveThirtyEight, polling expert Nate Silver wrote:
But one thing that the recall is unlikely to do is tell us much about how the presidential contest in Wisconsin is likely to evolve in November. The politics for a governor's campaign are often subject to different currents than presidential ones, and historically the party identification of a state's governor has said little about how presidential candidates will fare there.
Over the past 40 years, in fact, the relationship has run in the reverse direction than you might expect. The Democratic presidential candidate has typically done a little better when the state's governor is a Republican, and vice versa. [The New York Times, 6/5/12]
TPM's Marshall: "I Don't Buy That This Tells Us A Lot About President Obama's Fate In Wisconsin Or Across The Country." In a June 5 post on the Talking Point Memo's Editor's Blog, Josh Marshall wrote that exit polling from the race in Wisconsin "showed that President Obama would win handily with this electorate." From TPM:
For all the ominous things this election said for labor movement and Dems, I don't buy that this tells us a lot about President Obama's fate in Wisconsin or across the country. Why? Look no further than the polls. Tonight's exit polls showed that President Obama would win handily with this electorate. Indeed, all the polls leading up to this vote showed Walker winning by a solid margin and President Obama winning by an even solider margin. [Talking Points Memo, 6/5/12]
Erickson: "Recalls And Special Elections Are Not Really Good Indicators Of Anything Beyond The Dynamics Of Those Races." In a June 6 post on conservative blog RedState, CNN contributor Erick Erickson listed "a few things Wisconsin tells us that do bode ill for President Obama" but noted "we should be careful not to over conclude things." From Red State:
I maintain that special elections mean very little to general elections. The flawed exit polls were flawed because people who vote in recall elections vote in different ways from general elections. There was a massive union vote in Wisconsin last night. We can conclude that Scott Walker winning big with a big union turnout means even private sector union members hate public sector unions. But we should be careful not to over conclude things based on Wisconsin.
Republicans around the country should take note of that. While I maintain recalls and special elections are not really good indicators of anything beyond the dynamics of those races, there are a few things Wisconsin tells us that do bode ill for President Obama and that are easy to conclude. [RedState, 6/6/12]
Power Line: "Might Not Wisconsin's Comparatively Healthy Economy Be A Plus For Obama" Also?" In a June 5 post on conservative blog Power Line, Paul Mirengoff noted that the improving economic situation that helped Walker win the recall election could also help Obama in the presidential election. From Power Line:
I didn't watch any coverage of tonight's recall election in Wisconsin, so forgive if this point has been made. Forgive give [sic] as well for offering a note of caution about the results, particularly since it may be off-base.
My note of caution is this: Gov. Walker's victory may be due in part to the fact that the economy in Wisconsin has picked up and that Wisconsin's unemployment rate is considerably below the national average. Might not Wisconsin's comparatively healthy economy be a plus for Obama in November, as it presumably was a plus for Walker tonight? [Power Line, 6/5/12]
Real Clear Politics Shows Obama With A Lead In Wisconsin Among Recent Polls. According to Real Clear Politics, Obama has an average lead of 4.7 percentage points among recent Wisconsin polls.
[Real Clear Politics, accessed on 6/6/12]