Unions, Dems counting their chickens in Wisconsin recall vote

Exuding an air of confidence born out by polls that show the Democrats might sweep all 8 senate recall contests in Wisconsin, WaPo blogger Greg Sargent tries to pull them back into reality:

In reality, Democrats know full well their bid to take back the state senate could still fail.

Here's why. While it's become a tedious cliche to point out that in the end elections all come down to turnout, in the case of the Wisconsin recall elections it really will prove decisive.

And what's got Dems particularly nervous is that in these races, there's no precedent for predicting what turnout is going to look like - because we've never before seen anything like this set of recall elections.

"We don't have a precedent for this," Mark Mellman, the well respected Dem pollster who is conducting recall polling for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, acknowledged to me. "The nature of the turnout is so uncertain that it really will make a huge difference. We're dealing with big uncertainties."

Mellman said that three of the key races - though he wouldn't specify which - are so close that if turnout doesn't break the Dems' way, it could throw them to Republicans. He described them as "all very close races that could go either way."

Unions are pouring everything they have into Wisconsin in a massive get out the vote effort. The GOP operation - smaller, but pretty well funded -- appears to be concentrating on three close races that will decide who controls the senate when the dust clears.

In truth, the Democrats must win 3 of the six recall races involving Republicans and both contests where the Democrat is the incumbent in order to wrest control of the senate from the GOP. The GOP recall elections will be held this Tuesday while the Democratic recall races will take place the following week.