Democratic allegations of conservative attempts to suppress the vote in advance of recall elections Tuesday are probably overblown
MADISON -- Here's what you need to know about what's going on in Wisconsin right now: Nobody knows what the hell is going on in Wisconsin. Over the next two weeks, eight recall elections will determine whether the GOP maintains control over the State Senate; six Republican senators and two Democrats stand to lose their seats. Democrats need to win five of those contests to gain control of the chamber. Who's ahead? It depends who you ask. There are some poll results, which show close races in almost every contested district. But interpreting polls requires understanding which respondents are actually likely to vote, and likely voter models are based on results from similar elections in the past.
There are no similar elections in the past. We're in unexplored territory.
What we know for sure: the stakes are high. A unified Democratic majority in the Senate would pose an effective block to Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to renegotiate the state's social contract, and would boost morale as Democrats attempt to recall the governor himself next year. But if the Republicans hold on, Democratic State Senator Fred Risser told The Isthmus, "I have to think the recall efforts on the governor are not viable." Money from outside groups on the left and right has flooded the state: the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign estimates spending on the eight recall races at around $25 million, substantially greater than the total spent last November, when 15 seats in the State Senate and all 99 in the Assembly were up for grabs.