Photo credit Joseph Storkson
This is a fun story to wake up to.
Isthmus and the AP had both made requests for Walker to release his emails under the state’s Open Records Law, after he had claimed that most of them were supporting his budget repair bill. He told reporters on Feb 17, that “the majority are telling us to stay firm, to stay strong, to stand with the taxpayers.” The left was quite sure that Walker was lying about that, and he’d have to call in Karl Rove “to hide the emails that were sent to him”.
Gov. Scott Walker was right: The angry crowds in Madison didn’t tell the whole story of how Wisconsinites felt.
In the week after Walker announced his plan to dramatically curtail public employees’ collective bargaining rights in the state budget repair bill, a wide majority of the emails to him expressed support, an analysis of those emails indicates.
But that support was significantly boosted by emails from pro-Walker senders from outside Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism analyzed a computer-generated random sample of 1,910 emails from the more than 50,000 that flooded Walker’s office in the week after he unveiled his plan on Feb. 11. Nearly all were related to the bill.
The emails were released Friday as the result of an open records lawsuit brought in Dane County Circuit Court by Isthmus newspaper and the Wisconsin Associated Press. A settlement reached earlier in the week required the governor to produce the emails and pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees, which totaled just over $7,000.
At the request of Isthmus, the Center analyzed the emails. A team of reporters logged each of the emails in the sample as for or against the bill, unclear or unrelated. They also noted the location of the sender when possible.
Of the emails related to the bill, 62 percent supported it, while 32 percent opposed it. The margin of error for the Center’s sample size is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
The percentages are muddied by the fact that some people wrote more than one email — sometimes many more. The Center ran a computer script on the full set of emails and found at least 47,752 unique email addresses. The most prolific person sent at least 252 messages against the bill.
Those percentages align with Walker’s characterization of the emails on Feb. 17, when he told reporters that “the majority are telling us to stay firm, to stay strong, to stand with the taxpayers.”
The bill, introduced Feb. 11, called for eliminating most collective bargaining rights for 175,000 state and local public employees in the state and led to massive pro-labor protests. For nearly four weeks, tens of thousands of protesters filled the Capitol Square.
Walker remained unmoved by the opposition.
“We’re not going to allow for one minute the protesters to feel like they can drown out the voices of the millions of taxpayers across the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said Feb. 18.
Among the Center’s findings:
• Of the 1,493 emails on the bill where the sender’s location was apparent, the Center found that a third of Walker’s support came from outside the state.
• Eight-nine percent of the emails against Walker came from Wisconsinites.
• Out-of-state emailers overwhelmingly supported Walker, 85 percent to 15 percent, or a margin of nearly 6 to 1.
• When the Center looked only at emails from Wisconsin, the margin was much slimmer, with 55 percent favoring his bill and 42 percent opposed.
“So, actually, this is close to what he was saying,” said Charles Franklin, a professor of political science at UW-Madison.
Oh…it’s actually “close”, alright. Let’s look again at what Walker said: “the majority are telling us to stay firm, to stay strong, to stand with the taxpayers.” Turns out he was exactly right.
Hat tip: Gateway Pundit.
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