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.