The 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race to be held on Nov. 4 is predicted to generate intense votes on both sides of the fence.
Incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker is running for a second term in office.
Walker is the only governor in the history of the United States to survive a recall election. The recall took place in 2010, two years after he defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to become Wisconsin’s 45th governor.
Because of the lingering animosity over the recall and Walker’s conservative policies, there is a strong push among many to get him out of office, especially among unions and liberal interest groups. He is considered vulnerable due to his low approval ratings.
At the same time, Walker’s actions have garnered him support from those with anti-union interests.
Walker will face Madison Board of Education Member Mary Burke as well as two minor party candidates. Burke regards herself as a moderate and promises to move Wisconsin past the partisan fighting that has underlined Walker’s term.
“It could really go either way,” said Jennifer Collins, an associate professor of political science. “The state continues to be very polarized.”
The recall election has left the state intensely divided.
“It really all depends on the turnout,” Collins said. “Typically, less people will vote during a midterm election.”
Collins said there is a chance Republicans could have a slight advantage. They usually have a larger turnout for elections and tend to vote more consistently. She also said the Supreme Court halting the voter ID law could bring more Democrats and voters to the polls.
“Had this law gone through, it really would have dampened overall participation,” Collins said.
Collins noted from her classes that students do not feel like they are knowledgeable enough to vote and sometimes feel schools do not educate them enough about the differences among parties.
“I just have not really given voting much thought,” said junior elementary education major Jenna Hike.
Although it is easy for students to fall off the election radar, Collins stressed the importance of voting.
“Being that older generations have a bigger showing at the polls, politicians tend to more intensely target and discuss issues that pertain to them,” Collins said. “It is really important that students vote, especially because of the cost of higher education and other issues affecting them. This is how their voices can be heard.”
Collins said the Student Government Association did a great job with helping students register to vote.
“The process can be confusing at times, especially if you have moved recently,” Collins said.
Overall, she said she has noticed less signage around the area supporting Walker, but said it is still anyone’s race.
Junior clinical lab science major Tabatha O’Keefe said she noticed more signage supporting Walker.
“I think it was initially shameful to openly support him, especially if you had friends who were teachers,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe said Walker had a large amount of closet supporters due to his victory with the recall election.
“I think people are starting to see support from other states where leaders say they admire him for taking steps to benefit the state in the long term and dealing with the positive and negative effects of his actions,” O’Keefe said.
A future educator, who wished to stay anonymous, said he is a supporter of Burke.
“What really confirmed it for me was when Burke said she would crack down on drunken driving, and Walker said they should really focus on the repeat offenders.”