The day before Wisconsin's six GOP recall elections, a new poll shows Republicans with the narrowest of advantages in two key districts that could determine whether Democrats wrest control of the state Senate or fall just short.
The poll, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the liberal website Daily Kos, shows GOP Sen. Randy Hopper leading by one percentage point and GOP. Sen. Luther Olsen ahead by three. And while the margin of error in both of these races is about three percentage points, potentially wiping out both senators' leads, the latest data ratchets up the suspense in anticipation of tomorrow's recalls.
As I reported today, Hopper, Olsen, and GOP Sen. Alberta Darling are seen as three lawmakers whose recalls are too close to call, but whose defeat would give Democrats the three-seat change they need to retake the state Senate (presuming of course they protect the two Democratic senators facing recall on August 16). One GOP senator, Dan Kapanke, is all but guaranteed to lose; the new PPP poll put him 11 percentage points behind Democratic Rep. Jen Schilling. Left-leaning officials here in Wisconsin had, until recently, seen the Hopper recall as another likely victory, though hardly a lock. But PPP's findings suggest that race is closer than many observers suspected.
Democrats could, in the end, win only one seat. Or they could win four. Everything depends on voter turnout, a message both Democrats and Republicans are hammering home just hours before the big day.