Having it both ways: Small slice of Wisconsin voters supports both Walker and Obama

2012-09-17T06:00:00Z 2012-09-17T13:34:12Z Having it both ways: Small slice of Wisconsin voters supports both Walker and ObamaMARY SPICUZZA | Wisconsin State Journal | mspicuzza@madison.com | 608-252-6122 madison.com

For all of the hyper-partisanship and divisiveness in Wisconsin politics these days, a small group of people say they back both Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic President Barack Obama.

"We have seen that consistent pattern for a modest group of people," said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette University Law School poll.

Franklin said that at the peak of this summer's recall — or about a week before the June 5 election — pollsters found both Walker and Obama were ahead of their opponents by 7 percentage points. Walker won that race by roughly 7 percentage points.

And recent polls have shown that between 12 percent to 16 percent of those who say they approve of the job Walker is doing also say they plan to vote for Obama in November. For example, the Marquette poll released on August 22 found 12 percent of voters who said they approve of Walker planned to vote for Obama, Franklin said. That same poll found 8 percent of those who disapprove of Walker said they will vote for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

These Obama-Walker backers tend to be young, about 20 to 35 years old, less politically involved, and more moderate, Franklin said.

"They're much more likely to call themselves independents, tend to be registered voters who pay less attention to politics, but say they are likely to vote," Franklin said. "These are people not driven by ideology."

Long Wisconsin tradition

Joe Heim, professor of political science at UW-La Crosse, said the presence of independent voters willing to back both Walker and Obama is "historically accurate" rather than inconsistent.

"It is a great Wisconsin tradition," he said. "It's the way voters are in Wisconsin."

Heim said it's "old history" for Wisconsin independents to back politicians from across the political spectrum, noting that conservative Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy was followed by Democratic Sen. Bill Proxmire — with about one-third of former McCarthy voters backing Proxmire.

Heim said in a sense Walker and Obama have been "on the same ticket," with both trying to assure voters that the economy is improving under their leadership and insisting they need more time for their policies to take effect. And he added that the message seems to resonate well here.

"I think people in Wisconsin are more patient than other parts of the country," Heim said.

Madison-based Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said that, while Walker's and Obama's circumstances are different, there are people willing to give both incumbents the benefit of the doubt.

"These are independent voters who say, 'I'm going to give the man a chance,'" he said. "It's not shocking at all to me. It happens all the time."

Maslin, who has been polling in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race, added that he wouldn't be surprised if about 5 percent of those who vote for Obama in November also voted for Walker.

"It could be a crucial 5 percent," said Maslin.

Broad appeal or shrinking support?

Joe Zepecki, Wisconsin communications director for the Obama campaign, said Obama has wide support across the political spectrum.

"It comes as no surprise to us that the president has broad appeal among the electorate," Zepecki said.

But Ben Sparks, spokesman for the Romney campaign in Wisconsin, said the enthusiasm for Obama has dropped sharply since he was elected four years ago, and predicted the trend would continue.

"As the negative jobs reports continue to come out, President Obama's support in Wisconsin continues to decline," Sparks said.

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(23) Comments

  1. Phaerisee
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    Phaerisee - October 20, 2012 9:03 pm
    As a Christian I cannot vote for Mitt Romney. It takes five minutes of research on a search engine to realize this guy is bad news. He is trying to hold Catholics and Christians voters hostage with the pro-life issue while everything else he stands for is not Christian at all. Romneycare provided for taxpayer funded abortifacients and just last week he said on audio (he did not know he was being taped) that he would not introduce any pro-life legislation at all.

  2. toolegittofit
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    toolegittofit - September 17, 2012 1:20 pm
    "As the negative jobs reports continue...." But that's impossible! I thought Snot Walker was the great jobs creator! We do have more jobs now than we he was elected, don't we? DON'T WE?
  3. toolegittofit
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    toolegittofit - September 17, 2012 1:16 pm
    To know Romney is to hate him; his campaigning actually has a negative effect on his popularity!
  4. toolegittofit
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    toolegittofit - September 17, 2012 1:15 pm
    We should probably pity such a poor dumb bastard, but that bought it all on themselves....
  5. toolegittofit
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    toolegittofit - September 17, 2012 1:13 pm
    Sounds like some convoluted psychology there, Dr. Joseph!
  6. toolegittofit
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    toolegittofit - September 17, 2012 1:12 pm
    "2008: Bush's America" was way scarier, like "Silence of the Lambs" scary...
  7. Benedict Ishkott
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    Benedict Ishkott - September 17, 2012 11:20 am
    Tpartywarrior - Thank you for your '2016 Obama's America' support. Per your request, we'll have your free pass to the movie 'Innocence of Muslims' mailed to your door.
  8. smallfry
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    smallfry - September 17, 2012 11:18 am
    The only thing walker created is a mess!
  9. Good Gosh
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    Good Gosh - September 17, 2012 11:09 am
    If you did not see Billy Moyers & Company on PBS last night, I strongly recommend that you view it on their website. What the Republicans are up to has been obvious to some, but not so much for others. For those who believe the Republican party is the party of Lincoln, Eisenhauer, even Regan, please take a look at the interviews on this show, or read the upcoming Nation article. It's terrifying, yet has been so obvious.
  10. dante
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    dante - September 17, 2012 11:09 am
    How sad is it that even a college dropout who gutted education is polling better than Romney?
  11. Tricolor Dog
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    Tricolor Dog - September 17, 2012 10:40 am
    The scariest part of your post TWarrior is that you've implied that you actually paid money for that tripe movie. Paying for propaganda.....well, I guess your brain probably DOES need washing.
  12. Mike_Smith
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    Mike_Smith - September 17, 2012 10:40 am
    This story proves it then......Some one voting for Obama would also vote for Walker. You just can't fix stupid.
  13. monotone
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    monotone - September 17, 2012 10:31 am
    I love being a moderate. I don't have to get in line with every aspect of the certain parties agenda and don't have to get into silly fights on the Internet with strangers. I can think for myself, it's great!
  14. Wis_taxpayer
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    Wis_taxpayer - September 17, 2012 10:12 am
    Comparing Obama to Walker?

    Obama - degree at Columbia University - B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
    Obama - degree at Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Kum Laude
    Obama - Winner Nobel Peace Prize

    Walker - High school diploma

    Yeah, a real match up there!

    Yes, I know that Magna Kum Laude is spelled wrong and should be spelled with a C, but the site thinks that is profanity and won't let it go through correctly! go figure!
  15. Dick Dastardly
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    Dick Dastardly - September 17, 2012 9:32 am
    Wishful thinking. Now, check on the democrats voting for Romney. . .

  16. joebob
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    joebob - September 17, 2012 8:51 am
    you could but you cannot be a republican and support anything other that the party line
  17. Klopez
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    Klopez - September 17, 2012 8:27 am
    Using this movie as fact is irresponsible............the people who made this movie only have political motives and skewed facts to hurt Obama. BUT you probably believe everything FOX news reports too?
  18. Norwood44
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    Norwood44 - September 17, 2012 8:22 am
    You can be a democrat and not fall for the union propaganda. You can be a democrat and support charter schools. You can be a democrat and support teacher evaluations and accountability. You can be a democrat and still be capable of critical thinking.
  19. Norwood44
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    Norwood44 - September 17, 2012 8:17 am
    State workers have not been vilified. They have been made accountable. Please stop whining. Thank you.
  20. wipolitics
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    wipolitics - September 17, 2012 7:30 am
    Wisconsin's negative jobs reports and the vilification of public workers reflects back on Walker and the Republicans. People of this state will continue to support President Obama no matter what lies and distorted truths the Republicans spread.
  21. Big_Joe
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    Big_Joe - September 17, 2012 7:22 am
    The same people who skewed the exit polls by stating support for Barrett but secretly supporting Walker will vote for Romney despite their stated intentions. BTW, should Obama win the election, just imagine the mess he'll inherit THIS time! LMAO! No one left to blame (though we all know that won't stop him).
  22. Tpartywarrior
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    Tpartywarrior - September 17, 2012 7:20 am
    Scott Walker saved this state from financial ruin. If the same people who say they support both go see the movie "2016, Obama's America", they will clearly see why they need to support Romney/ Ryan to save America.
  23. Nav
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    Nav - September 17, 2012 6:42 am
    Comparing a President to a Governor is weird. There is EVERY reason for ALL Wisconsintes to vote for President Obama as he supports collective bargaining for workers, women rights, wants all who can vote to vote, wants all of us to have health care, has created over 5 million jobs during his administration. The President derves a vote from every Wisconsinite!
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