(MADISON, Wis.) — Whatever Scott Walker’s fate, Barack Obama may drag some bragging rights out of the Wisconsin governor’s recall election: Voters in preliminary exit poll results Tuesday say they favor Obama over Mitt Romney in November’s presidential election by a slight six-point margin (51-45 percent).
These results are preliminary so it remains to be seen if that result will hold in final exit poll results later Tuesday night. If so, it might provide Obama forces with pushback should Walker, the incumbent Republican, prevail in the recall election against Democratic candidate Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee.
Barrett lost to Walker when the two faced off in 2010. One possible boost for Barrett this year comes from union voters: Nearly a third of voters in preliminary exit poll results say they’re from union households, up from 26 percent two years ago. And slightly more than half say they have a favorable impression of public employee unions; restrictions on such unions that were backed by Walker led to the recall.
But voters in these preliminary results divide almost exactly evenly on Walker’s handling of those unions, with high levels of strong sentiment on both sides.
The division between Democrats and Republicans is much like it was in 2010, with both their numbers slightly down, and an apparent increase in turnout by independents in these preliminary results. Partisan divisions are very similar to their levels two years ago — but with an apparent rise in opposition to the Tea Party political movement, expressed by 31 percent in 2010, vs. 36 percent in these preliminary results.
Another result, at the same time, holds some promise for Walker: Wisconsin voters are more apt to say government “is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals” than to say it “should do more to solve problems.” That’s about the same as it was in 2010; the former view typically draws more votes for Republican candidates.
Voters express identical opinions of both political parties — 50 percent with an unfavorable view of the Democrats, identical for the Republicans. And there’s a sour note for the recall process itself: Six in 10 say recalls are appropriate only for reasons of official misconduct. They showed up to vote nonetheless.
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