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With less than an hour to go before the polls close in Wisconsin’s heated recall election, early exit polls indicate that the race might be a lot closer than Republicans had hoped. The New York Times reports that preliminary exits suggest that about a third of all voters come from union households, an uptick from the past two presidential elections. Although it is too early to draw any real conclusions, the numbers are good news for Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who needs high labour turnout to defeat Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
As we reported earlier, the outcome of Wisconsin’s recall will depend largely on how many voters cast ballots, and Barrett could benefit from reported high turnout in Democratic strongholds like Milwaukee and Madison. Long lines were reported at polling places across the state today, and election workers on the ground predict turnout could be as high as 2.5 million. The Milwaukee Election Commission was forced to call in reserve election workers to deal with the crowds, and election officials in Madison are predicting turnout will be close to 90%.
Still, high turnout may not necessarily be bad for Walker, who has led Barrett in most recent polls. Republicans poured money into the Wisconsin recall race, and claim that their turnout efforts are better than ever. And NBC reports that exit polls show voters were almost evenly divided on collective bargaining rights, the very issue that started the recall battle in the first place. According to early exits, 51% of voters said they approve of the way Walker handled collective bargaining issues, while 48% said they disapproved; 50% said they approved of the Walker-backed law limiting collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions, while 48% said they disapproved.
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