(CNSNews.com) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says "there's no doubt" that union members were among those who voted to keep him in office in Tuesday's recall election.
The network exit poll for the special election showed that Walker won the votes of 38 percent of voters who said they were a union member or lived in a household with a union member.
"I'm talking to workers here this morning, talked to a lot of manufacturers across the state over the last year and a half, but particularly the last months in this campaign, and I find that at plant after plant, there are construction workers and others in manufacturing who appreciate the fact that we turned our state around. And I think they wanted more of that in the future," Walker told Fox & Friends Wednesday morning. "They wanted us to go forward."
The exit poll showing that Walker got 38 percent of the vote from people living in union households was conducted by Edison Research for ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, Fox News and the Associated Press.
Walker said he's heard voters complain for years that when politicians get into office, they're not willing to take on the tough challenges.
"What we did was inherently about taking on those tough challenges -- about taking on the things that not only made it difficult at the state level, but at the local level, to balance our budget; and in doing so, we thought more about that next generation... than just the next election. And I think voters rewarded us for that.
“They said loudly, not just in Wisconsin, but I think across the country, if you do the right thing, if you make the right choices, voters will stand with you."
Walker said Gov Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was one of the first people to congratulate him on his victory: "I think the best thing he can do between now and November…is to get out and make a very compelling case about how he's willing to take on the tough challenges."
Walker said he hopes to see Romney frequently in Wisconsin -- "a very competitive state" -- between now and the general election.
Walker also mentioned that he and Rep. Paul Ryan grew up near each other in Wisconsin: "We love people like Paul Ryan in Wisconsin because Paul has the courage to tackle these big issues at the national level. If Gov. Romney wants to be competitive in Wisconsin, I think he can -- he needs to tackle those same issues."
Democrats were quick to point to exit polls showing that some of the people who voted for Scott Walker on Tuesday said they would vote for Obama in November.
According to the Associated Press, Obama had a 51-44 percent edge over Romney in Wisconsin exit polling, and more Wisconsin voters said that the president would do a better job improving the economy and helping middle-class voters than Romney would.
A sizable 1 in 5, however, said they trust neither party's candidate on the economy, the main issue in the presidential campaign.
"These data points clearly demonstrate a very steep pathway for Mitt Romney to recover in the state," Obama's Wisconsin campaign director, Tripp Wellde, said in a statement quoted by the AP.
Four years ago, Obama won Wisconsin by 14 percentage points. Democrats John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000 carried the state by less than a single percentage point. No Republican has carried the state since 1984.
On Wednesday, Walker expressed relief that recall is over -- for the sake of the state, as well as for his family. He mentioned that his two teenage sons have been targeted ion Facebook, and protesters have come to his home.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praised the "courageous journey" of nurses, teachers, firefighters and other public sector workers in Wisconsin:
"Though seemingly an impossible task, they refused to allow their voices be taken away by an overreaching and partisan governor," Trumka blogged Tuesday. "Whether it was standing in the snow, sleeping in the Capitol, knocking on doors or simply casting a vote, we admire the heart and soul everyone poured into this effort. Adding to this gargantuan challenge of recalling only the third governor in American history was the flood of secret corporate cash distorting our democracy," he added.