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Early Wisconsin recall exit polls: 60 percent say recalls are only for official misconduct

A woman casts her ballot Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

(CBS News) Sixty percent of Wisconsin voters in today's recall election say recall elections are only appropriate for official misconduct, according to early CBS News exit polls. Twenty-eight percent said they think they are suitable for any reason, while nine percent think they are never appropriate.

Today's recall election in Wisconsin pits Republican Gov. Scott Walker versus Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in a rematch of their 2010 race. According to the early exit polls, 6 percent say they decided on their candidate in the last few days, with 93 percent saying they made up their minds before that.

The recall effort was brought about mainly in response to Walker's plan that restricted collective bargaining rights for public union workers. Today, 52 percent of Wisconsin voters in the early exit polls said they have a favorable view of unions for government workers, while 43 percent have an unfavorable opinion of these unions. Among voters in unions households (public or not), 69 percent view these unions favorably.

On the issue of collective bargaining, 50 percent of Wisconsin voters say they approved of the recent changes to state law that limits collective bargaining for government workers, but 48 percent disapproved of these changes.

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More generally, 54 percent of Wisconsin voters surveyed think government should generally have a more limited role when it comes to solving problems, compared to 42 percent who said government should do more. These views are similar to November 2010.

Fifty-three percent of Barrett's supporters say their vote today was mainly for their candidate, but 45 percent say it was against his opponents. Among Walker's supporters, about nine in 10 describe their vote as mainly for Walker -- only 8 percent say their vote was mainly against his opponents.

The vote has been closely watched for potential clues into the presidential race between President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the key battleground state. According to the early exit polls, Mr. Obama has an advantage over Romney, fifty-one to 45 percent. Two percent say they won't vote.

More details from the exit polls will be released after the polls close in Wisconsin at 9 p.m. ET.

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