President Obama's campaign posted a video Monday urging voters not to freak out over a few bad polls, and yet it shows a map labeling Wisconsin, a blue state, as a toss-up. At this point in 2008, campaign manager Jim Messina reassures viewers, lots of polls showed Obama behind Sen. John McCain. But Messina's soothing words are a contrast to an electoral map that flashes across the screen showing while he talks. It shows Wisconsin -- a state Obama won by 14 points -- listed as a "toss up" by the campaign. On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters decide whether to recall Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who pushed through a state law curbing the power of public sector unions. Walker is leading his Democratic challenger 50 percent to 47 percent, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling. But PPP finds that Walker's lead would disappear if as many Democrats were planning on voting in this election as did in 2008. Likewise, a Marquette University poll showed 92 percent of Republican likely voters said they would "absolutely" vote, while just 77 percent of Democrats said that.
Republicans are so encouraged by the recall fight that Mitt Romney is going to fight to win the state, The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny writes. Romney "intends to start building a campaign operation off the robust get-out-the-vote machinery assembled for Mr. Walker," Zeleny says. But as much as both campaigns talk about Wisconsin being a battleground, they haven't spent much money there yet. The Associated Press calculates $87 million has already been spent on ads in swing states, but Wisconsin isn't among them. If you look at cold hard numbers, they show a mixed picture for figuring out Wisconsin's potential impact on the general election. On the huge impact side:
60 percent to 65 percent: The expected turnout Tuesday, high for a special election.
1: Actual fistfight over a Walker yard sign, as documented by Bloomberg's Timothy Jones and Mark Niquette.
26: Number of Republican offices around the state dedicated to helping Walker survive the recall that will start working for Romney the day after the election, the Associated Press' Thomas Beaumont reports.
$110 million: Money spent on recall election ads through May 21.
On the not-so-huge impact side:
0: Percentage of those ads aired by Obama or Romney.
0: Number of visits Obama has made in support of Walker's challenger, Tom Barrett.
1984: Last election year when a Republican candidate carried Wisconsin.
52 percent: Obama's approval rating in Wisconsin.
6.8 percent: Wisconsin's unemployment rate, well below the national 8.2 percent rate, meaning its voters aren't as angry as less lucky voters in worse-off states.
5: Number of months till the election, plenty of time for recall passions to fade away, Beaumont notes.