Commenting on the Wisconsin judicial election at, seemingly fittingly 'Commentary', John Podhoretz makes some of the same points I did regarding the outcome.
We both saw one of the most important factors in the basically tied result (as of this writing-there are reports of found ballots and possible illegal actions) was the fact that the unions, the Dem's and the media had thrown everything they had at the election, and still did not make a significant breakthrough voting wise.
The polls the media had trotted out, purported to show that the Wisconsin public backed the unions case by 55% to 40%. The media breathlessly reported that public demonstrations-numbering over 100,000-were the greatest in the history of Wisconsin and more money, and doubtless union foot soldiers, were brought to bear than in any other judicial election in history.
And yet with all that effort the union/Dem's/media backed candidate could only, on the night,end up with a 204 vote winning margin, which might still be turned around with a recount. Unquestionably, the union candidate did much better than would have normally been the case, but this was no normal case of course. What needs to be taken into consideration are the historical voting factors.
This is where I differ with the Podhoretz analysis; "If there is any lesson to be drawn as we look ahead to 2012, and I suspect there is, it is that after Obama’s amazing victory in 2008 with a margin of nearly 7 points and the Republican comeback of 2010 with the GOP winning nationally by 6, the parties are naturally at parity."
As Stacy McCain at "The Other McCain" points out Governor Walker won in 2010 with 52% of the vote, compared to Prosser's just under 50% thus "400,000 who voted for Walker stayed home this time." If we take that 50% as the new base of support in Wisconsin for the GOP, then the state is very much in play for the presidential election in 2012-which has important implications on a number of levels.
Rather than, as Podhoretz states, "the parties are at parity" if we extrapolate the 50%-52% from the 2010/11 results as being where the Republicans in Wisconsin are now, that is a remarkable turnaround from the 2008 results state wide. Obama carried Wisconsin by 56% to 43% but just two years later Walker turned that 13 point deficit into a winning margin. If this holds true for 2012 then an electoral map like the one below becomes a strong possibility. Even if Virginia and Colorado were carried by the Dem's the resultant tie would most likely see the House choose the Republican candidate.
The other factor of major significance is that the possibility (as Josh Painter advises) of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan being the vice-presidential candidate. This is a role he has not denied he might undertake, with for example Sarah Palin (Palin has praised his economic proposals strongly on a a number of occasions) and it would presumably, put Wisconsin further into play.
If Wisconsin if in fact a winnable state after having been lost by 13 points to Obama then the parties are most certainly not at parity.