The Obama-Romney exit poll finding is probably the most surprising data point to emerge from the mess in Wisconsin. Obama has maintained strong support among minorities, and fairly strong support among college-educated white voters, but his standing with white voters lacking a college degree has fallen even below its low 2008 levels. If there’s any region where Romney ought to be making inroads, it’s upper Midwest states, where Obama still relies on blue-collar voters. Michigan and, to a lesser degree, Ohio ought to be exceptions, owing to the special circumstances of the auto bailout. Wisconsin and Iowa are ground zero for states likely to fall to Romney. Tonight’s exit polls suggest he’s much farther away than many of us believed.
But Walker’s win will certainly provide a blueprint for fellow Republicans. When they gain a majority, they can quickly move to not just wrest concessions from public sector unions but completely destroy them, which in turn eliminates one of the strongest sources of political organization for the Democratic Party. And whatever backlash develops, it’s probably not enough to outweigh the political benefit. Walker has pioneered a tactic that will likely become a staple of Republican governance. Fortune favors the bold.