Massive Amount of Money Spent on Few Undecided Voters in Recall

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

The amount of money spent on Gov. Scott Walker's upcoming recall election has surpassed any previous record for a single race in the state.

Walker's supporters have far exceeded what the four democratic challengers have raised, but the amount of money spent won't necessarily determine who wins the race.

"It's a tremendous amount of money and it's not clear that the amount of money has much impact," said Ed Miller, a political science professor at UW-Stevens Point.

According to numbers reported to the Government Accountability Board, Walker has raised $25 million, a majority from out of state sources.

The four democratic challengers: Tom Barrett, Kathleen Vinehout, Kathleen Falk, and Doug La Follette have raised $6.5 million.

Other funding sources, including United Wisconsin, The Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin contributed $5.5 million. That doesn't even include money from other groups.

"The more money spent does not necessarily mean that you win the marginal benefits," Miller said. "Additional benefits of additional money decreases fairly rapidly."

He says spending too much could backfire, because to some it will appear as if you're buying the election.

State law allows recall targets to receive unlimited donations, so the sky are the limit.

Miller says it's interesting that so much money is being spent considering there are very few undecided voters, but massive amounts of funds are raised when an incumbent is in trouble.

Polls have showed a small margin of undecided voters.

You could do a lot with all the money spent on gubernatorial candidates, including sending more than 700 students to a 4 year university like UWSP. You could give shelter, three meals a day, and laundry to 2.3 million people at the Salvation Army or fully fund The Neighbor's Place for 105 years.

How much is spent, and the outcome of the recall will also influence the upcoming presidential race. Wisconsin is considered a key battleground state.


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