Wisconsin Voters Not Engaged With Primary?
The Wisconsin Primary is a week away, and it’s become the latest Midwest showdown state for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, for the moment, though, voters in the Badger State seem to be suffering from election fatigue:
Political yard signs and bumper stickers are plentiful in Wisconsin these days. They just don’t carry the names Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum.
Wisconsin Republicans are more focused on protecting their incumbent governor, Scott Walker, from recall than on the April 3 presidential primary in their state. Romney and Santorum have to convince party activists to focus some attention on them rather than solely on trying to protect Walker’s job in the recall election tentatively set for June 5, a vote triggered by anger over anti-union legislation the governor signed last year.
“The attention of most of the voters is on the state recall,” said Don Taylor, the Republican chairman in Waukesha County, a suburban area west of Milwaukee that’s a party stronghold. “There isn’t a lot of attention right now on the presidential primary.”
Voters are suffering from “complete political fatigue” from the drama that has played out around Walker, Taylor said. “We’re all sick and tired of it, but we know how important it is.”
To win on April 3, Romney needs to cut into Santorum’s support among working-class and rural voters, whose proportions are greater in Wisconsin, according to exit polls, than in Illinois, where he scored a 12-percentage-point victory March 20. Restore Our Future, a political action committee supporting Romney, has already poured more than $500,000 into television advertising in the state.
Whether this helps Romney or Santorum is unclear, but it seems that Santorum would be the one most hurt by the fact that activists in the state are focused more on June than April.