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The Lessons of the Walker Recall

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RUSH: Daily Caller has an interesting story. "Mitt Romney would collect at least 72 of the 110 electoral votes available in eight battleground states if President Barack Obama’s current polling numbers, as reported by The Huffington Post, are overstated by a mere 1%." Now, let me go back to Wednesday on this program, the day after the Wisconsin recall election. Now, I remember leading off the program with what I thought was the key point of the day. Everybody had their thoughts on what's the big lesson.

And a lot of people were saying the impact on unions, the literal loss of membership in public employee unions in Wisconsin, was profound. One of the reforms that Walker initiated was an end to the state deducting union dues off the top of a union member's paycheck. The union member never saw it. It was just like taxes: They never saw the money. The state deducted it and it went to the union and then it went to the Democrats. By the way, I have to tell you, I'm really pleased about something.

I read voluminously last night about the Walker recall and the latest opinion punditry, and I was excited to see how many people are writing about the lesson learned in the Walker recall. And basically, if I had to synthesize it, it would be the point that I have been pounding home for two years now. Finally, taxpayers have realized that they are paying for a deal they don't get. Taxpayers finally woke up and realized that lifetime...

You know, a public employee union member gets a job, works for 23 years, retires, and gets 90% of salary as the pension and full health care until they die. And people who are out of work or don't make very much money are paying the taxes that fund all that. And finally people woke up and realized that's not sustainable. I can't tell you how many people have come to that conclusion and realized that that's one of the primary lessons that has been learned by the public in all this.

And that is fabulous.

'Cause, folks, you know, private sector union membership is down to 7%. The construction workers unions, the private sector union workforce is 7% of the US labor force. It topped out way back in the glory days at around 30, 35%. Now, the government union percentage is a little bit higher, but it's coming down as well. It was a profoundly educational campaign. The unions, when they retrace their steps here, are going to rue the day they did this recall. They're gonna rue the day they did all the recalls.

Because all that happened is the general public was educated. The general public woke up and finally understood what-all they were paying for. And then they coupled that with the entitlement mentality of union people who would go on vandalous rampages if they didn't get what they want. So there are people writing in the aftermath of the Wisconsin recall about the real death of the unions. That initiative of Walker's where union members could opt out of the state withholding their union dues?

That pretty much was akin to, "Do you want to be a member of a union or not?" And before the initiative, 60,000 people in Wisconsin were having their union dues withheld by the government. They never saw it. Something like 40,000 union workers opted out of that. It was a death knell. So that's all good. The second thing -- and in a political sense, almost as important. Because we know how flawed the exit polls were.... I mean, at nine o'clock when the polls closed they said it was 50-50.

They said it was too close to call on the cable networks. And by the way, the cable networks knew that that wasn't true. I wish I could tell you how I know that, but I would be betraying a courtesy. And I don't want to do that. But trust me: When you saw the Chyron graphic on the network at nine o'clock, "Race Too Close to Call," they knew it wasn't too close to call. I'll bet you also heard this. When you saw the Chyron graphic, "Race Too Close to Call," you then heard somebody say, "but we expect to call it in the next hour."

Well, if it's too close to call, how do you know you're gonna be calling it within the hour? The networks all send out memos, and the exit polls go to every network. They all combine, they buy them, and they all get the same data. And they all send memos out to their on-air staff and producers (memos, series of them) in the course of the afternoon. And I was privy to a bunch of these, and it was right there. "We expect to call the race between nine and ten. There's a percentage chance that we will not and percentage chance that we will."

So my point is that everybody knew, despite what was being reported on the air at the time, that the exit polls were worthless. It wasn't 50-50. It wasn't too close to call. But they like viewers, and the indecision and the unknown makes people stay tuned longer. I understand all that. But when it was all said and done, I know that one of the most important things going on at the White House is polls. They're looking at all the polling data they've got from all over the country, and they're saying, "What if this isn't right?

"What if none of these polls are accurate anymore?" How many years has it been, how many elections has it been that the exit polls were dead wrong? You go back to 2004, and the first two waves of exit polls had John Kerry elected. I'll never forget old Bob Shrum. The story goes that Bob Shrum, who ran Kerry's campaign, went in to him at five o'clock in the afternoon when the second wave came in and said, "Mr. Kerry, may I be the first to call you, 'Mr. President.'"

But when the real votes came in and they started being counted, the exit polls were nowhere near accurate. They said, "Okay, what's wrong? Why are our exit polls so wrong?" They started look at their methodology. Then they discovered that they oversampled Democrats by four to five percent in the exit poll, like they do every other poll during the course of the year. So are the polls right? That's what they're asking themselves. So, here comes this story from the Daily Caller.

"Mitt Romney would collect at least 72 of the 110 electoral votes available in eight battleground states if President Barack Obama’s current polling numbers, as reported by The Huffington Post, are overstated by a mere 1%." If they're off by 1%. "Romney would win that electoral majority in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin if there is a 1% undercount and if undecided voters there split evenly between Romney and Obama.

"That would give the former Massachusetts governor at least 253 Electoral College votes -- just a few votes shy of the 270 he will need to claim the White House. But if the undecided voters break for Romney by two-thirds, Romney would win all those states’ 110 votes, pushing him well above the 270 margin and earning Obama a helicopter ride home to Illinois. 'It's a good reminder that small shifts in votes can play a big role in electoral votes,' Trey Grayson, director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, told The Daily Caller."

Really?

"Grayson predicted that the battleground states are 'likely to break together,' resulting in a strong showing for one candidate or the other." They're not going to split. "'A lot of these states have things in common,' he said, including Midwestern geography and higher than average populations of white voters. ... Tuesday’s recall vote in Wisconsin .... was a good indicator of how badly some pre-election polling can perform." So now I guarantee you, there is abject panic out there.

Because Axelrod and Plouffe are asking themselves, "My gosh! What if our data's wrong?" And they're believing this notion how lovable and popular and likable Obama is. That's why this poll that came out yesterday (the New York Times/CBS poll) showing 67% the American people want Obamacare overturned by the Supreme Court -- only 24% want it upheld -- makes you wonder: What's the real number if they're willing to tell us that it's two-thirds? What if it's 75%? What if it's really 70%?

What if in that 24% there are some people afraid to tell the pollster that they don't like Obamacare? This is what they're asking themselves. And state by state, they're looking at the independents and the undecideds. They're really looking at the undecideds and saying, "Are these people really telling us the truth?" And you know they're trying to factor things like the Wilder Effect/the Bradley Effect. And then there's the new specter they're considering: Are people just trying to screw with the pollsters?

Are people just having fun with the pollsters, purposely telling them things aren't true just to screw up the outcome? They're thinking all of this, because it's been too many elections in a row where the exit polls are way off. And, by the way, a lot of the pre-election polls were, too. But not as bad as the exit polls.

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