Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 Wisconsin Legislature elections- not tipping....yet

In the last couple of weeks, we received more information on Wisconsin's electoral geography, and I think it gives a good idea of the state of play for the State Legislature in the 2014 elections. I'll first direct you to the Daily Kos breakdown of Wisconsin's legislative districts. If you look at that post, you'll see dark blue districts that both voted for Obama and have Dem legislators, while the dark red voted for Romney and have Republican legislators. The light pink voted for Obama and have Republican legislators, and the light blue voted for Romney and have Democratic legislators. If you want to do your own analysis, here is the poster's Senate information, and the Assembly breakdown.

I did a similar analysis back in July, combining the Obama vs. Romney votes with the Baldwin vs. Thompson race, and broke down the individual districts by "dissimilarity to Wisconsin." Basically what I was trying to figure is if Wisconsin's overall numbers were a 50-50 tossup between Dems and Republicans, which party would win in each district? In both examples, the GOP's gerrymandering strategy becomes apparent- packing Dems into heavily pro-Dem seats while stretching as many GOPs as possible into seats that are approximately 55-45 to 60-40 GOP.

Now with this in mind, last week's Public Policy Polling survey of Wisconsin showed a generic legislative ballot with Dems up by 4 points among Wisconsin voters (Dem 45, GOP 41). What would that mean if Dems had a uniform 4-point advantage in all legislative elections in November 2014, at 52-48? A quick check shows the following:

Dems pick up 5 seats currently held by GOP
GOP picks up 2 seats currently held by Dems
1 Dem seat is 50-50 toss-up (Doyle)
FINAL RESULT: GOP 57, Dems 41, 1 toss-up

Dems pick up 1 seat (Schultz -open)
GOP picks up 1 seat (Lehman- open)

Seems like GOP gerrymandering will carry the day again at first glance. But look at what happens if there's even a tiny shift further toward the Dems.

5 closest GOP wins in 52-48 Dem year, 2014
Ripp (R-inc.) (50.6%-49.4%)
Bies (R-open) (50.9%-49.1%)
Krug (R-inc.) (51.0%-49.0%)
Klenke (R-open) (51.7%-48.3%)
Vruwink (D-inc.) (52.0%-48.0%)

Ellis (R-open) (52.1%-47.9%)
Moulton (R-inc.) (52.5%-47.5%)
Petrowski (R-inc.) (53.3%-46.7%)
Lassee (R-inc.) (53.5%-46.5%)
Leibham (R-open) (54.2%-45.8%)

So if Dems added another 2% statewide in this scenario, there's another 5 seats that fall their way in the Assembly along with the 1 toss-up, making it 52-47 GOP in that chamber. Maybe that would inspire some GOP Assembly members to grow a backbone and stand up to Robbin' Vos, since only 3 of them defecting could kill legislation, and many more would be endangered in what could be a big Dem year in 2016 (PPP has Hillary Clinton with a commanding lead over all Dems for 2016, including home-staters Scott Walker and Paul Ryan).

In the Senate, it's even closer. A 2% shift to the Dems turn the open Ellis and Moulton seats into toss-ups, and Dems would control the Senate if they won both of those. Add in the fact that the Leibham seat is now open and Lassee is a lunkhead who wanted teachers to have guns in school, and once adorned his website with a quote from Adolph Hitler, and the path to a Dem majority isn't as far off as you'd think.

What's also interesting is the geographic mix of these vulnerable GOP seats. Many are in and around the Appleton/Green Bay area or in western Wisconsin- two swingy areas that Dems need to do well in if they want to win in statewide elections this November.

Hmm, seems like the electoral map has stated where the prime pick-up territories are for the Dems this November. So GET TO WORK, instead of wasting time talking to us in Madison, where we don't need any convincing to turn out and take out Scott Walker and the rest of this GOP wrecking crew.

1 comment:

  1. From ...

    -- State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, who passed earlier this year on a guv run, has scheduled a Saturday fundraiser to kick off her Senate re-election campaign.

    Vinehout, D-Alma, told in February she planned to run for re-election to her Senate seat. But she held off an official announcement as she recovered from injuries she sustained in a car crash late last year.

    "Although she represents Senate District 31, her influence is state-wide. Kathleen is a vibrant voice for working Wisconsinites, and is bound to be a target of outside money," the flier reads, exhorting supporters to share their enthusiasm and contributions.