Democrats know what's at stake. They're treating this election like the Normandy invasion. Meanwhile, Republicans are sitting back, complacently citing polls that show Walker with a slight lead.
Polls don't register passion.
Public employee unions have vast organizing abilities, millions of dollars in union dues at their disposal, and millions of voters who are either union members themselves or relatives of union members. And it's their lifestyles being voted on.
The public sector unions will turn out 99.9 percent of their people. Even if they are only 15 percent of the electorate, that could be enough. Union members will have every distant relative, every neighbor, every person they can drag to the polls, voting to recall Walker next Tuesday.
Ordinary people answering polls may agree with Walker, but they'll have to decide: "Do I really want to get out of bed early and drive to the polls, just so they don't recall the governor?"
On the ground here in Wisconsin it feels quite different. I think it's the Democrats who are disspirited and disappointed in their candidate, the dismal Tom Barrett. Republicans are enthusiastically ready to vote for Walker, and people understand precisely how much it matters. They know their property taxes have held steady or gone down under Walker after Act 10 (the legislation restricting collective bargaining by public employees on benefits). They know that the state is predicting a budget surplus this year, just two years after a Democratic governor bequeathed Walker with at $3.6 billion deficit. Everywhere I look there are pro-Walker yard signs and everyone I talk to is excited about beating back the recall.