Saturday, June 9, 2012

Progressive Soul Searching in Wisconsin, PA, & other Red Gov. States

The failed attempt this week to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has left many of his opponents to scratch their heads and wonder "was it the money?", "Was it better organization?", "Was something wrong with the exit polls?", and "What does it mean for Obama's reelection?"  While these questions are interesting there are other questions, races, and issues that can be overlooked.  My state Pennsylvania has it's own Scott Walker as Governor, Tom Corbett.  On May 18 there was a great rally at the Pittsburgh Opera against their giving him an award for his lifetime contribution to the arts as can be seen in the clip above.  The primary and secondary teachers unions were well represented but I didn't see any of the University activists there. 

The graphic below shows that PA is one of the worst states when it comes to cuts in Higher Education with a 13.4% decrease in spending with further cuts proposed this coming year with the state related Universities (Jan Brewer's Arizona and Walker's Wisconsin are the second and third worst at 25.1% and 20.9% respectively behind New Hampshire at 41.3%).  Of the 18 states that are dark red in the map below 13 have Republican Governors.

Below the CNN exit poll shows that in Wisconsin this week, Walker and his challenger Tom Barrett split the 18-24 college age vote in Wisconsin while Barrett won the 25-29 year olds and Walker either won or split the older age groups.  The under 30 age group only comprised 16% of the electorate in Wisconsin (they are about 20% of those over 18 in the state) while they are the ones most likely to adversely affected by Walker's cuts to higher ed.  50-64 year olds were over represented (34% of the electorate but about 20% of the electorate).

CNN Wisconsin Exit Poll

AgeTotalBarrettWalkerOther/No Answer
65 or Older18%44%56%N/A

It is true that this is one issue among many at play in the recall race.  It is helpful to look at the data to see where the revealing patterns are about which groups we need to reach out to for 2014 when Walker and Corbett are up for reelection.  I can assure you that their people are looking at population data to see what the trends are for 2012, 2014, and beyond.  Not only are they sitting on a mountain of cash.  They are also sitting on a mountain of data.


The Pew Research Center has come out with a survey showing how the partisan divide has grown larger over the last 20 years.  I asked a question that was posed to Michael Dimock, the primary investigator on C-SPAN's Washington Journal at about the 15:10 minute mark about what is causing the divide.

**Related Posts** 

Pitt & PSU going private: Shifting the Tax Burden to College Families & A Bigger Story Than the Pitt Bomb Threats & Joe Paterno 


States as Laboratories and Lavatories of Democracy


Change at My Alma Mater, IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Undergrads Getting Squeezed


Making Sense of the Pat Toomey-Joe Sestak Senate Race