Wisconsin Polling Undercounts Likely African-American Vote In Recall
If you’re following the latest polls for the June 5th Wisconsin Recall Election, things are looking good for sitting governor Scott Walker, and grim for his challenger Tom Barrett. The most recent poll from Marquette Law School shows Walker up by 7 percent heading into GOTV weekend. But polls are never 100 percent reliable, and in a unique election like this one, they may be more flawed than usual.
The ‘likely voters’ polled for the Marquette Law School study were 85 percent Caucasian. While that’s consistent with the overall demographics of Wisconsin, it still means that 300,000 African-American voters are up for grabs.
Officials are expecting a huge turnout for this election; 65 percent as opposed to the 49.7 percent participation we saw in the 2010 elections for the same seat.
The difference will come from voters who were not engaged in the 2010 midterms. While African-American turnout has historically been lower than other demographics, the gap has narrowed in the last several election cycles.
In the last six weeks, the League of Young Voters Education Fund knocked over 100,000 doors in the African-American community of Milwaukee to ask whether we can count on them to vote in the recall elections- and 93% of those we’ve contacted have said yes.
We aren’t asking them how they’re voting, but we know that they are voting. The polls simply don’t account for that, and this election is still anyone’s game.
(Rachel Bishop is the national program director of the League of Young Voters National Education Fund)