Nearly a year and a half of anti-Scott Walker protests will come to a head Tuesday when Wisconsinites decide whether to replace the Republican governor with Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. But the effort that began with rallies and sit-ins in this state capital after Walker signed a law limiting collective bargaining rights for public workers has morphed into a national campaign with presidential election overtones.

It is both risky and something of an overreach to project a parallel between Tuesday’s outcome and the results of the Obama-Romney face-off in the fall; a win for Walker hardly guarantees victory for his GOP counterpart, and vice versa. But the recall race highlights the intense political polarization here in the Badger State, which mirrors that seen throughout the country, and Tuesday’s outcome figures to be a barometer for the electorate’s mood five months ahead of Election Day.

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